Friday, October 10, 2014

Triumph at City Hall!

Our brains are safe...or are they?
Howdy friends and neighbors of the hills!

Well folks, y'all can let out a collective sigh o' relief now...this time, the good guys won!

The Montebello City Council voted unanimously to approve the public's request for a 15 day extension on the comment period for the Montebello Hills Specific Plan (MHSP) Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report (RDEIR)!

The council also agreed to hold a "joint study session" (with the Montebello Planning Commission) on the RDEIR.  At this meeting, members of the public will get a chance to make their comments directly to the council and commission.  Here are the particulars:

RDEIR Study Session
November 6, 2014
6:30 p.m.
City Council Chambers
1600 West Beverly Boulevard
Montebello, California, 90640

At the meeting, it was revealed that residents had been doing their part to vaccinate the City Council against the threat of a zombie plague.  The council received over 40 letters asking for the time extension along with several worried phone calls and emails. Nine brave souls took to the speaker's podium in defense o' the public's right to have enough time to tame the monster 5 volume RDEIR.

Oddly, nobody got up to speak against the extension.

All three feet of the RDEIR itself sat menacingly on a side table in the council chamber, waiting and watching.

The violins started clashing when the spokesperson for the development company stepped up to the mic and then...

...the spell was broken when the spokesperson said "we do not contest the public's request for a 15 day extension."

The council started their discussion on the matter but it was pretty clear which way the wind was blowing.  Even a certain council member had a change o' heart from the opinion he expressed to the Whittier Daily News.  The council member made it mighty clear that he had been "misquoted" by the WDN. 

Uh huh.

So, the time extension was approved, the zombie apocalypse didn't happen and nobody's brains got eaten. 

All's well that ends well!

...until the sequel!  *Dun, dun,dun!*

Daisy Mae

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

COMMUNITY ALERT: Grab your torch and pitchfork!

"They" want to take your brain!


Howdy friends and neighbors of the hills!

SHIVER!!!!!  Do y'all feel that chill in the air?   Well, it certainly ain't  due to the weather we've been having!

No folks, that is the icy breeze flowing off the cold shoulders of the out of town carpetbaggers who want to bulldoze our beloved Montebello Hills! 

You see folks, while I was away, the City of Montebello released the Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report (RDEIR) for the Montebello Hills Specific Plan (MHSP).  Try saying that three times fast!

The original Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) was released waaaaaaay back in 2009 and the public was given 45 days to comment.  The deadline was extended after folks complained this wasn't enough time to read and write comments, especially since there were so many problems just getting a copy of the dang document in the first place!  Y'all can read about that fiasco here.

Well, folks weren't intimidated by the size of the original DEIR and the city received 84 written comments.  After this pummeling, the beast "slithered away" for 5 years and everyone started to wonder if this bad idea had died in it's lair but, like all good horror movie plots, the beast didn't die, it just sorta "hibernated" until it was time to be resurrected.

This "recirculated" version  jolted back to life on September 12, 2014 and unfortunately, not only is it  just as monstrous as it's mama, it's worse!  This time-sucker has even more appendices and convoluted "updates" than the original document!  Once again, the public was given only 45 days starting September 12 until October 27 at 5:00 p.m. to get a handle on this ginormous behemoth and submit their written comments.

So, once again,  the ordinary townsfolk of Montebello put together a polite letter asking the Montebello City Council to please extend the deadline to submit comments another 15 days.

Now that don't sound like too much to ask, does it?

Well, it seems the forces of darkness think so because the rumor in town is that supporters of the project will be descending upon city hall tonight to OPPOSE this extension!!!!!  Worse yet, one of our councilmembers told the Whittier Daily News "he won’t support a time extension because it isn’t needed and won’t help."

That just ruffles my feathers!  I reckon some people would rather let someone else do their thinking for them!

The Montebello City Council will be deciding the fate of the time extension at tonight's council meeting. 

Montebello City Council Meeting
Wednesday, October 8, 2014
6:30 p.m.
City Council Chambers
1600 West Beverly Boulevard
Montebello, CA 90640
If you think a time extension is "needed,"  PLEASE attend this important meeting and give the council your two cents' worth!  Be sure to get there early so y'all will have time to submit a speaker's card and stake a claim on a seat!

My fellow Montebelloans, rise up and defend your right to think for yourselves!  Don't let the corporate zombies steal your brains or your voice!

Daisy Mae

Monday, June 30, 2014

The fracas over "fracking"

Anti-Fracking Rally in Long Beach, CA

Howdy friends and neighbors of the hills!

Well folks, another summer is upon us and it's high time I gave y'all an update on what's been happening here in Montebello.  There's a lot to catch up on so I'll do my best to give y'all the Reader's Digest version.


Waaaaaay back in January, the California Department of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (aka:  "DOGGR")  held a public meeting in Long Beach to discuss their draft regulations for well stimulation.  A whole lotta Sierra Club folks turned out for the rally/meeting including several of our own members of the Save the Montebello Hills Task Force to provide public comments.  A "lively"(with the exception of Mr. Skeleton above!) anti-fracking rally took place outside the meeting location.

Here are two of the news stories about this meeting:

"Fracking protested at Cal State Long Beach"

"Protesters Rally For Fracking Ban At CSU Long Beach"

Now folks, y'all gotta remember that according to a letter written by Plains Exploration and Production (PXP), the former owners of the Montebello Hills (now Freeport McMoRan Oil & Gas), no "fracking" has happened in the Montebello Hills.

Yeah, riiiiiiiiight!  I reckon that depends on your definition of the word "fracking!"  See folks, PXP claimed there hasn't been any conventional fracturing or high volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) going on in the hills but they admitted a few wells underwent something called high rate gravel packing (aka: frac packing.)

So what exactly is "high rate gravel packing" or "frac packing?"   GOOD QUESTION!!!

Let's go straight to the experts hired by PXP for that explanation.

C. Hybrid Fracture Treatments: Hybrid treatments are a type of hydraulic fracturing treatments (not high-rate gravel pack) that combine the advantages and benefits of both conventional gel and high volume hydraulic fracture treatments. They were developed in the early 2000s to improve stimulation effectiveness. In hybrid treatments, low-viscosity and hydraulic fracture treatment fluids with friction reducing additives are used initially to create the fracture and then followed by a high-viscosity gelled fluid to place the high-concentrations of larger sized proppant.  pp. 49-50

Frac Packs

In the Baldwin Hills, the majority of the wells are completed using frac packs. This process is different from the hydraulic fracturing stimulation techniques used for tight sands, gas shale and coal gas recovery.

The frac pack completion technique involves two distinct injection stages performed in a single step that are discussed in Section 9.

The frac packs will be referred to as “high-rate gravel packs (HRGP)” in this report. 

Note: Please refer to section 9 for additional details and discussion on "high-rate gravel pack treatments”.  p. 51

[From Section 9]

The HRGP completion technique involves two distinct injection stages
performed in a single step.

The first stage creates a hydraulic crack and terminates its growth by tip screenout. The second stage involves continuous injection of high concentration slurry after the screenout, resulting in inflation and packing of the gravel pack through the near wellbore area to the production zone (Fan and Llave, 1996). These treatments are pumped down the tubing/casing annulus and have a wire wrapped screen installed in the well. p. 109

Source:  Inglewood Oil Field Hydraulic Fracturing Report, Halliburton

Now if y'all are confused about the difference between a hydraulic fracture and a hydraulic crack , y'all are not alone! To make matters worse, go back and read my last post on the Global Frackdown 2013 and try to figure out the difference between all of these:

High pressure gravel packing
Used to describe "a type of fracking by the oil industry and experts"
being conducted by PXP in the Baldwin Hills 
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County,
Second District, Baldwin Hills Community Standards District Settlement, July 5, 2011
Small scale fracking
Used by the Water Replenishment District to describe high rate gravel packing.
Fracture packing
Found on a resume of a PXP employee who co-authored the engineering paper which described frac packing as "a hybrid process that stimulates a reservoir by hydraulically fracturing the formation and accomplishes an annular gravel pack in a single operation."
This here confusion is why the Save the Montebello Hills Task Force has been attending all these meetings by DOGGR and other local government's CONFUSING!


In February, the City of Los Angeles Planning & Land Use Management Committee (PLUM for short) voted to consider passing along a "Consideration of Fracking Moratorium" to the LA City Council.  A few days later, the city voted to take "the first step toward putting a stop to hydraulic fracturing and other similar drilling methods that energy companies use to extract petroleum and natural gas."

This sure did ruffle the feathers of the oil and gas industry and especially Freeport McMoRan!

Hance V. Myers III, a vice president at Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas, a company with drilling operations in Los Angeles, said in a statement that the moratorium's "generic scope" could halt "even routine well maintenance activities needed to ensure the mechanical integrity of wells and maintain conventional oil production.
Source: "L.A. Takes Big Step Toward Fracking Moratorium" KCET

Members of the Save the Montebello Hills Task Force were on hand to witness this historic vote!


Did y'all feel the 5.1 earthquake on Friday, March 28?  The poor folks living near the quake's epicenter in Brea, CA sure won't forget it!  They're still reeling from the more than 100 aftershocks that seem to keep going and going like the Energizer Bunny! 

Here are a few of the news stories about the quakes:

Quake swarm topped by magnitude 5.1 temblor rattles L.A. region
Los Angeles Times

4.1 temblor shakes OC one day after quake rattles region
Orange County Register

More than 100 aftershocks rattle Calif. after strong quake
USA Today

It  didn't take long for folks to start wondering if  "fracking" in the nearby Brea Olinda oilfield had a hand in causing all these quakes.

Two La Habra Quakes Centered Around Fracking Wells: Did Fracking Cause La Habra Quake? (pictures, maps, video)
Before It's News

Cal Tech Professor: Fracking Causes Earthquakes

Fracking may be inducing earthquakes where they shouldn't be
Los Angeles Times

Folks in Brea have been understandable upset by the "whole lotta shaking going on" in their neighborhood so on April 10, their local Sierra Club group held a public meeting on "Fracking and Other Oil & Gas Dangers" to discuss what the heck might be going on.  The meeting featured Dr. Tom Williams.  Of course, there was a whole passel of Sierra Club members at this meeting including 3 members of the Save the Montebello Hills Task Force but the room was filled to capacity with anxious members of the general public.

When asked about the fracking taking place in Brea and if it might have anything to do with the earthquakes, Dr. Williams expressed some concern about the shallowness of a few of the quakes and their close proximity to oil and gas wells.  Dr. Williams is scheduled to speak about this issue again on July 19th in Brea.

Could such a thing happen here in Montebello?  I'll get back to this later.*


I suppose all the commotion about the LA City fracking moratorium must've really spooked the head honchos over at Freeport McMoRan.  John Martini and Candace Salway, both employees of Freeport McMoRan, made a rare appearance at the Montebello City Council meeting on April 9.  Ms. Salway didn't say anything during the meeting, but Mr. Martini addressed the council during public orals.

Below is an unofficial transcript of Mr. Martini's 3 minute public oral before the Montebello City Council:


Interesting, mighty interesting.  If Freeport isn't doing any "fracking" in the hills then why would they send not one, but two o' their "top guns" to Montebello?  Kinda makes you wonder don't it?


On May 28, Mr. Martini came back for an encore performance before the Montebello City Council.  This time, he informed the council about 6 brand spanking new wells that had been drilled in the Montebello Hills.  Four of these wells, two oil/gas production and two waterfloods, are located just above Plaza Drive.  The other two oil/gas wells are below Plaza Dr.

Folks who were at the meeting say Mr. Martini seemed to be knocked a bit off balance when this news was met with questions from the council about any possible health or safety issues.

Then Mr. Martini's evening took a definite turn for the worse.

A member of the Save the Montebello Hills Task Force stepped up to the speaker's podium to give a response to Mr. Martini's previous public oral.  She presented a bound copy of a 10 page refutation of his remarks (footnotes and all!) to each of the city council members, the city administrator and the city clerk!

Tsk, tsk Mr. Martini!  You should've known somebody might fact check your comments! 

The next speaker was Dr. Tom Williams, geologist and retired oil/gas expert with an imposing "curriculum vitae."  He's become a well-known "thorn in the side" for Freeport McMoRan operations throughout the L.A. basin.  His comments were a bit on the "technical" side but still, very impressive.

Then, coincidence stepped into the ring for one final jab at Mr. Martini.  The last "public oral" of the night was delivered by City Clerk Daniel Hernandez.  Mr. Hernandez has gotten into the habit of keeping the council updated on all the California public record act requests (CPRA) made since the last council meeting.  On this occasion, Mr. Hernandez reported that his office had filled a CPRA made by the Save the Montebello Hills Task Force regarding any new well permits for the Montebello Hills Oilfield!  (So much for Mr. Martini's attempt to beat the task force to the punch!)

Ya know, I almost feel sorry for that fella ...but then again...naaaaah!!!!!


Still with me?  This blog update is almost done, I promise!

Montebello isn't the only place with a whole lotta questions for the oil and gas industry.  Folks all over the southland are facing similar issues and have similar concerns.  Below is a flyer for a much more recent event sponsored by folks living in the Gardena/Compton area of Los Angeles.

LA Seismic, the company that conducted the Rosecrans 3D Imaging Project in the Harbor Gateway North Neighborhood Council (HGNNC) area of Los Angeles also conducted the Montebello Seismic Project back in August 2013.   Unless y'all are one of the folks who live or work along North Montebello Blvd it's likely y'all have no idea such a project took place.  The seismic imaging company's public information website vanished off the internet just as fast as it appeared, so much for informing the public!

The seismic imaging company said the purpose behind these studies was to “analyze fault zones in the region and, from data gathered, gain a better understanding of natural resources such as oil and water.” In Montebello, the project was paid for by Sempra Energy (aka: The Gas Company.)

In the HGNNC, the project was paid for by BreitBurn Energy Partners.

A student from the USC Annenberg School of Journalism and Communication reported:

Murmurs of the “F” word began to circulate in the Harbor Gateway after a fleet of seismic survey trucks made their way through streets around the intersection of Rosecrans Avenue and Interstate 110 late last summer. The Other "F" Word: Fracking Spooks the Harbor Gateway By Jenna Pittaway

Unlike Montebello, the HGNNC was well aware of the seismic project that vibrated along their streets.

Rosalie Preston spoke about the Harbor Gateway North Neighborhood Council which discussed damage to homes from the “Rosecrans 3D Imaging Project” testing by LA Seismic starting last August. During the testing there was cracking of interior and exterior plaster, driveways cracked, block walls fell down and black oil came up in one woman's bathtub. Residents suspect that all of the damage was triggered by the sound wave imaging. The Neighborhood Council is still investigating the issue.Gardena Valley Democratic Club, Monday, February 17, 2014
Yikes!  There were no reports of such damage here in Montebello but that may be because the survey area was smaller and most of the route along Montebello Blvd follows the edge of the Montebello Hills oilfield with more "cushion space" between nearby homes and businesses.

Ripley's "Believe it or Not" Double Take Moment o' the Day

At the end of the HGNNC Town Hall meeting, a small group of folks from the Montebello/East LA area were approached by Diane Ripley, the PR spokesperson for LA Seismic.  After an awkward start to the conversation, she listened to the group's complaint about the quick disappearance of the Montebello Seismic Project webpage. She said the company had provided informational flyers to affected businesses and homeowners along the route and she'd spoken to each and every one of our city council members about the project.

She continued to listen politely as the folks from Montebello told her about the Montebello Fault that runs east to west across the northern half of the Montebello Hills oilfield and under Montebello Blvd.  This fault was documented in official records for the Monterey Park Operating Industries Incorporated (OII) superfund site and the Gas Company's Decommissioning Report for the Montebello Gas Storage Facility but the fault wasn't mentioned as a possible public safety issue for the Montebello Hills Specific Plan.  She kept on listening when the group agreed it would be a wonderful thing to get new, scientific information about this fault.

Then Ms. Ripley did the unexpected, she cooed that she too was a "community activist" and offered to get the seismic imaging information from Sempra Energy!

Ms. Ripley's offer was conveyed to the Montebello City Council on June 25, 2014.   The ball's in your court council!

*Now about those quakes in Brea and the question, "Could it happen here?"

Go back and take a closer look at that transcript of Mr. Martini's comments, did y'all notice how he talked about a report written by the National Academy of Sciences but he never did say the actual name of that report?   Well here it is:


On page 35 is a reference to a 1991 article written by Arthur McGarr, a geologist with the USGS.  The title of the article is:

On a possible connection between three major earthquakes in California and oil production

If that title sounds familiar you may have read about it here.  In a nutshell, the three oilfields Mr. McGarr writes about are Coalinga, Kettleman and Montebello.

According to Mr. McGarr, there is a possibility that activities in the Montebello oilfield triggered the deadly 5.9, 1987 Whittier Narrows Earthquake!!!!

Folks with all this uncertainty about what is REALLY happening in our beloved Montebello Hills I'm more convinced than ever that allowing a developer to build homes smack dab in the middle of an active oilfield is just plain crazy!

I'm leaving y'all with this catchy ditty from a few years back.  I owe a heap o' thanks to the hardworking folks over at the Sierra Club's Fracking, Oil and Gas Committee for reminding me about this little gem.

Daisy Mae

My Water's On Fire Tonight
(The Fracking Song)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Global Frackdown 2013

Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community sends a message to the Governor via morning 405 freeway rush hour traffic. 98 % of the early morning commuters responded by beeping and showing favorable hand gestures, only 2% chose to express themselves with single digits.
Photo and caption courtesy of the Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community

Howdy friends and neighbors of the hills!

Last Saturday was the 2nd annual, Global Frackdown. "Fracktivists" from more than 20 countries took part in events held all around the world to demand their public officials ban the practice of hydraulic fracturing in their communities.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the extraction of oil and gas by injecting water to break rock formations deep underground. 
Fracking a single well can require between two and nine million gallons of water combined with sand and chemicals. Much of the used water returns to the earth’s surface, but contains radium and bromides - cancer-causing, radioactive substances. The toxic chemicals can then float into lakes and rivers or contaminate the ground. 
RT.Com, Global Frackdown: World protests shale gas production

For a look at all the countries that participated, check out the world map at Global Frackdown 2.

For more photos and a video of this year's events, head on over to the "Live Updates" page here.

Here in California, protests were held in:

Culver City
Davis - UC Davis
Los Angeles - USC
Palm Springs
San Diego

In Culver City, anti-fracking organizers arranged a protest march and bike ride around the infamous Inglewood Oil Field. Folks living near this oil field have been dealing with all sorts of problems since they were rousted from their beds back in 2006!

In January of that year, noxious fumes from the Inglewood Oil Field led to the evacuation of dozens of people and affected more than 500 homes. The following month, a similar incident occurred, again prompting an evacuation.  Culver City Patch, "Oil Drilling Standards Fail to Address Issues, Some Say," October 12, 2011

Photo courtesy of the Citizens Coalition for a Safe Community.

The troubles in Culver City brought local folks together and eventually led to the creation of a Community Standards District to regulate oil field activities.

Both the Inglewood and Montebello Hills Oil Fields were owned by Plains Exploration & Production (PXP) until PXP was recently bought out by Freeport McMoRan. "Fracking" has happened in the Inglewood field and some type of hybrid fracking had been proposed for Montebello.

A frack by any other name would still stink

When folks in Montebello started asking questions about the possibility of "fracking" in Montebello, PXP got spooked and sent a letter to the city council.

The letter starts:

It came to our attention that on several occasions, members of the public made erroneous statements that PXP is drilling and completing wells at our Montebello Oil Field utilizing hydraulic fracturing.  For the record, we have not drilled a single well since 2008.  In addition, we reviewed the well records and found no evidence that any well at the Montebello Oil Field was completed using either conventional, or High Volume Hydraulic Fracturing (HVHF).  Any claim to the contrary is false.

The letter ends:

There is another well completion activity called High Rate Gravel Packing (HRGP) that is also confused with hydraulic fracturing.  The HRGP is ideal in formations that are already permeable and is used for sand control which helps avoid clogging of the wellbore.  The gravel pack method uses a metal screen placed in the wellbore. The surrounding annulus, or space between the well and the outer casing, is packed with gravel, water and additives to limit entry of formation fines and sand into the wellbore.  In this process, the space between the formation and the outer casing is packed, at a high-rate, with gravel that is sized small enough to prevent formation grains and fine particles from mixing and entering the wellbore with the produced fluids, but large enough to be held in place by screens.  Sand and finer particles reduce the life of surface equipment and can reduce oil production.

I hope the information provided above helps correct the misinformation and serves to enhance the understanding of HRGP last used in 2008 at Montebello Oil Field; conventional hydraulic fracturing and HVHF, neither of which has been used at the Montebello Oil Field.

If it walks like a duck...

Now folks, I'm wondering just who is confused about this thing called "High Rate Gravel Packing?"

Remember that Community Standards District set up in Inglewood?  Well,  according to the Q & A for that settlement,

Fracking is regulated by the State of California’s Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR). The County is pre-empted from regulating this activity. In Baldwin Hills, PXP currently uses high pressure gravel packing which is considered a type of fracking by the oil industry and experts. However, the current technique used at the oil field is different than hydraulic fracking which is used for shale and coal gas recovery. High pressure gravel packing involves the pumping of water, gravel and a small amount of additives (less than one percent, made predominantly of guar gum) down the well to prevent sand in the formation from plugging the well and is similar to what is done for the completion of water wells that are located in sand aquifers.

The new settlement requires that an independent consultant be retained to conduct a study of the feasibility and potential impacts (including impacts to groundwater and subsidence) of fracturing operations. The current CSD does not require this type of analysis.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County, Second District, Baldwin Hills CSD SettlementJuly 5, 2011

In May, the Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD) held their "2013 Water Quality Workshop" and included a whole section called "Hydraulic Fracturing and California's Groundwater."

Hooey! This is what the WRD has to say on the matter:

High-Rate Gravel Packing:  Small scale fracking near the well bore to install gravel pack to improve flows at the oil/gas well and/or to prevent formation sand entry (like a gravel pack in a water well).

Even PXP's own experts have added to the confusion over "fracking!"  Here is an interesting bit o' info from the resume of a PXP employee:

W.H.Moodie Engineering, Inc.
§         9/1997 – 4/2004   Stocker Resources, Plains Exploration and Production  Asset Manager for Arroyo Grande 9/1997 –  1/2000, Asset Manager Mt Poso 2/1999 –  2/2003,  Asset Manager Montebello 3/2003  to present   Have drilled and completed wells using foam in gravel packing techniques at Arroyo Grande, drilled and or recompleted over 300 wells at Mt Poso developing fracturing techniques that made that acquisition a success and provided drilling and production engineering services to the Inglewood assets in 2002, 2003 and 2004 including drilling 47 wells and completing 9 of the new producers with a newly developed fracture packing technique.   Successfully recompleted two exiting wells resulting in significant production increases using a modification of the same technique.  Published a paper on fracture packing SPE #90975 “Multistage Oil-Base Frac-Packing in the Thick Inglewood Field Vickers/Rindge Formation Lends New Life to an Old Producing Field.”
That SPE paper above claims that "Frac packing is a hybrid process that stimulates a reservoir by hydraulically fracturing the formation and accomplishes an annular gravel pack in a single operation."

The last page of this very same paper says, "The frac pack recompletions of two wells in the Montebello field are currently in the planning stages. The zones targeted are at a similar depth to the Vickers/Rindge, and suffer from the same formation damage restrictions, and thus the technique has good potential at Montebello."

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD)  recently passed a new rule to regulate emissions at oil and gas sites. Now oil and gas companies need to submit reports to the SCAQMD on three types of well stimulation techniques:

Hydraulic fracturing 
Gravel Packing
(The rule applies to all forms and combinations of these techniques!)

The SCAQMD also requires oil and gas companies to submit a list of the chemicals being used.  The public can view these reports here.

Well folks, I don't really care what type of "fracking" is going on, they all sound really BAD for wells located in ALL residential areas, both new and old.

Maybe next year the Global Frackdown will finally take root here in Montebello.

Daisy Mae

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Straight from the candidate's mouths

The Montebello Hills oil field

Howdy friends and neighbors of the hills!

Well folks, y'all may not have realized it yet but it's election season here in Montebello.  Seems the peculiar weather we've been having has stunted this year's crop o' campaign signs but they ought'a be sprouting like weeds soon enough.

Seven candidate's are hoping to win one of three seats on the Montebello city council:

Anna Arriola
Art Barajas (Incumbent)
Emma Delgado
Flavio Gallarzo
Daniel Hernandez (Current City Clerk)
William "Bill" Molinari (Incumbent)
Vivian Romero

So far, the politicking around town has been downright yawn-inducing.  In keeping with the red-flag warnings and our on-going, dry drought conditions, the only "mudslinging" has been the occasional dust up during city council meetings.

On September 26, the candidate's had a chance to participate in a forum hosted by the Armenian National Committee San Gabriel Chapter.  Three of the candidates, Emma Delgado, Flavio Gallarzo and Daniel Hernandez declined the invitation. Y'all can check out the story at EGP News.

The forum took place during the week and I've been told by folks who went that there was a small turnout. That's the bad news.  The good news is that a feller named Steven Andrade recorded the event on video and has posted it on YouTube!

Imagine my surprise to learn that our beloved Montebello hills ended up front and center o' the night's festivities!  Here is where you can view the videos for yourself:

2013 Montebello Candidate Forum (Part 1 of 3) 
24 minutes, 26 seconds
Introductions, reading of the statements of the candidates not in attendance, audience question #1.

2013 Montebello Candidate Forum (Part 2 of 3) 
26 minutes, 01. seconds
Questions 2 and 3.

12 minutes,05 seconds
Question #4:  What do you believe would be the advantages and disadvantages if the Montebello Hills Housing Project took place?

It's a crying shame those three other candidate's weren't there to answer this important question but maybe they'll put something in writing in their campaign literature.

Daisy Mae

Sunday, September 22, 2013

What a well blow out looks like

Howdy friends and neighbors of the hills!

Yikes! Did y'all hear about the well in Hawthorne that's been spouting water and methane gas for more than a week?!  Take a look at the video below!

ABC 7 News
Hawthorne gas leak: Displaced families want answers
September, 21, 2013

Seems the trouble started Thursday, Sept. 12 when workers for Golden State Water Company were fiddling around with capping an old water well and accidentally "released" a small geyser.  The first report submitted by Golden State Water to CalEMA says:

While destroying a well the release occurred, material flowed onto soil then into a storm drain, an air monitor indicated a type of unknown vapor being released, FD evacuated six residences with an unknown return time, RP is handling the containment and clean up.

The second report submitted 9 minutes later by L.A. County Fire says:

DELETE: THIS IS A DUPLICATE OF 13-5748 A company was working on a water well stuck a subsurface line causing this release. The gas release will be capped tomorrow, a perimeter has been set up for the night with the home evacuated for the night. The Water Co. is providing a motel for the affected residents. The number evacuated is an estimate.

Under "known impacts" this second reports says:  Seven residences were evacuated.  

Two updated reports were filed but they don't give any new details.  A 5th update was posted on Sept. 19 which says: Caller states the water release has been stopped. Caller wanted to insure the incident had been reported

That's the end of the "official" reporting but did those reports tell the whole story?  Not if you believe what some of the smaller news agencies were saying!  Here's a sampling:

News 4 KRNV-DT Reno
LA evacuations from gas, water leak will continue

The well was being retired a week ago when it began seeping naturally occurring methane gas and pouring out thousands of gallons of water.

Daily Breeze
Hawthorne residents displaced by methane leak must stay away at least another day
By Larry Altman, Daily Breeze, Posted: 09/18/13

Thirty-seven families forced to evacuate their Hawthorne homes last week when a water well exploded and flammable methane gas spewed into the air won’t be able to return for possibly five days as repairs continue, water company officials said Wednesday.

Although work crews stopped water and methane gas from spewing from the well at Imperial Highway and Truro Avenue on Tuesday, experts determined that naturally occurring methane gas continued to seep into the well, Los Angeles County fire Inspector Tony Akins said.

“Tuesday night, experts had an opportunity to sit down and evaluate the situation absent the gas leak. It was decided we don’t just have a water well out here now, we have a gas well,” Akins said.

89.3 KPCC
Q&A: The challenge of fixing the Hawthorne methane leak
Corey Moore, Sept. 19th, 2013
KPCC interviewed Denise Kruger, Senior Vice President of Regulated Utilities with well owner Golden State Water Company, about efforts to fix the problem. 

Q. Is this kind of methane leak common?

Kruger: Methane in the area is naturally occurring but it was very unexpected to have a release of methane in this way while the work was happening with the drinking water well. So it is a very unique situation...a pocket of methane gas [may have] wiggled through the out-of-service well, which caused the methane to come to the atmosphere and the water... to shoot up in the air with the gas. It’s not a common thing and our emergency response protocol[s] have been effectively addressing the situation.  

So much for all the "official" reporting about hitting a "subsurface line!"  Guess someone plum forgot to mention the part about the "naturally occurring methane gas."  Come to think of it, those same someone's forgot to mention that a team of oil-field specialists had to be called in to install a blowout preventer on the well.  Y'all remember what a "blowout preventer" is?  That's the thingy BP had so much troubling with during the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Why is methane gas dangerous?  First off, it tends to EXPLODE and second, it's BAD for your health.

USCAnnenberg, Neon Tommy - Annenberg Digital News
No Methane On Mars, But Plenty In Hawthorne
Michael Nystrom , September 19, 2013

So why are people being evacuated from the area?
Methane is an extremely flammable and explosive gas. The explosive range for methane is anywhere from five to 15 percent concentration in the air.  

Methane can also have harmful effects on human health. According to the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, methane is toxic by inhalation and skin exposure.
Potential effects from inhalation include agitation, slurred speech, nausea, vomiting, facial flushing and headache. 

In severe cases, depending on the health of the individual, breathing and heart complications, or coma and death may occur.

Folks, dozens of families in Hawthorne had to be EVACUATED from their homes because of one leaky well.

Here in Montebello, 13 homes had to be torn down when methane leaked up through old oil wells.

Now chew on this,  the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Montebello Hills Specific Plan housing development says there are "approximately 264 well bores" in the Montebello Hills.

As of April 2007, 94 well bores have been abandoned, 96 are producing, 46 are used for water injection, and 28 are idle. The wells are located throughout the Montebello Oil Field. (p.1-2)

Does it bother anybody else that the DEIR says "approximately 264 well bores?"  Kinda makes you wonder where the "rest of the story is", don't it?

I hope those families in Hawthorne get to go home soon with the answers they deserve.

Daisy Mae

Monday, August 19, 2013

Wolves in Sheep's Clothing

Howdy friends and neighbors of the hills!

It's still August right?  I thought Halloween was in October?  So why does it feel as if certain people in our community are playing "trick or treat" already?

It's come to my attention that a new community activist group has made it's presence known in the City of Montebello.  Ordinarily, I'd offer a hearty welcome to such a venture and encourage folks to get involved in helping their community,  Lord knows we need more of such folks, but there are a few things about this particular group that just don't "smell right."

The group calls itself "Montebello Forward."  This group has it's own website and they set up a booth at last Thursday night's Concerts in the Park performance.  The two ladies manning the booth looked friendly enough and they were smiling and having a good ole time asking passersby to sign their list, yet some concert goers seemed a mite bit perplexed about who they were.

They had a big banner displayed on their booth with the web address for their organization.  Their website proclaims:

We are a brand new group of Montebello residents who love the City of Montebello. Some of us have lived here most of our lives. Others of us have been living here just a few years. But we all have something in common: We love Montebello and we care about the future of our community. 
“Why now?” you might also be asking yourself. 
We’ve decided to organize Montebello Forward because Montebello needs our help. Now. Our city has so much potential to be a great place to live, to work and to raise a family. But to realize that potential we have to organize ourselves and move forward to make important changes. Our streets need to be fixed. Our sewer system is old. Many of our sidewalks are broken or are being lifted up by trees that have not been trimmed. We need to fix our parks and playing fields so our kids have safe places to play. We need to find ways to bring more money into our community so we can help our police and fire departments protect us and our homes. 
The only way we can help is to become informed, get involved and take action. That’s why we formed Montebello Forward. We are informing ourselves about what’s going on in Montebello. We are getting involved by attending City Council meetings and other community events. We are going to take action by supporting ideas and projects that will help Montebello become all that it can be.

Well, that all sounds good and dandy but, if you're a regular fan of watching Montebello council meetings on the city's public access channel, you may have noticed  something eerily "familiar" about those two ladies. "Montebello Forward" was "introduced" to the community at the August 14, 2013,  Montebello City Council meeting by two ladies.  They were the same ladies who sat in the "Montebello Forward" booth the next day at the Concerts in the Park.  No surprise there.

But folks, you gotta pay attention to the names of the people who get up to speak during the "public oral" section of the meetings. (Public speakers are asked to "state their name" for the record.)

Surprise, surprise!

Cook Hill Properties LLC, the wannabe developer of our beloved Montebello hills, has a "partial list" of their supporters posted on their website and guess what?

There are two names on that list that match the names of the ladies from "Montebello Forward."

Innocent coinkydinky?  I wasn't sure at first until I heard these ladies were including a copy of Cook Hill's latest propaganda advertisement folded up inside their own literature!

That smell is getting stronger!

Then there are these photos taken after the concert:

Cook Hill Properties' head honchos stop by to chat
with the ladies of "Montebello Forward."

Need a hand taking this down ladies?

Almost done, and since the concert aint over yet,
you'll beat the traffic outta the parking lot!

PU!   Crack the windows and grab the broom!  I smell a couple o' skunks under this house!

Now I was told by folks who were at the park, that "Montebello Forward" managed to get a few souls to sign their list.  The question is, who else gets to see this here list?

Now that's a real concern folks because I've also been informed  that Cook Hill Properties LLC just sent out a short email article to their supporters about these two ladies and their group,  "Montebello Forward":

A Mother and Daughter Duo Set Out
To Move Montebello Forward

The email confirms that the ladies of "Montebello Forward" are the same ladies listed on Cook Hill's website. I reckon we now know which "ideas" and in particular "projects" they intend to support to "help Montebello become all that it can be."

  Hhhhmmmmm . . .

Oh, but wait!  Here's the real scary part!  According to Cook Hill's email description of these ladies:

Both are passionate, energetic forces who aren't just talking about making Montebello a nicer, better city. They're doing something about it. They're setting out to build an army of Montebello residents to effect positive change in the community they love so much.
They're setting out to do what?!!!!!  Forget the broom Pa and head for the root cellar!  The zombie apocalypse is upon us!!!!!


 It may be August but there sure is a chill in the air.

Daisy Mae