Friday, November 18, 2005

Extra $2 million secured to help rebuild Bluebird Canyon

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office announces the federal funding boost, which will go toward repairing an area devastated by heavy winter storms.By LAYLAN CONNELLY The Orange County Register

More federal funding was approved today to help rebuild Bluebird Canyon, an area devastated by a landslide June 1 after a winter of heavy storms.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office announced that $2 million has been secured to reconstruct Flamingo Road. The aid would be in addition to help promised last week by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"We were very pleased to get the funding for what we believe is an urgently needed project," said Howard Gantman, spokesman for Feinstein.

Earlier this week, Laguna Beach got word that FEMA had reconsidered its denial to assist the landslide area. FEMA concluded that heavy winter storms caused the slide.

FEMA denied help to Laguna in late August after concluding the landslide couldn't be attributed specifically to heavy rains in January and February. The city, through the state Office for Emergency Services, appealed that decision in September.

Though a specific amount from FEMA is unknown, the city expects to receive about $5 million.
Total federal assistance is now expected at $7 million, but Mayor Elizabeth Pearson-Schneider said more is needed to repay the city for work being done in the area - the total bill is $15 million.

She is still pushing for a half-cent sales tax up for vote on Dec. 13. The funds would generate about $10.2 million during six years, which will help pay back the city and create a fund for future disasters.

As for Feinstein's help, Pearson-Schneider said: "She's my new hero."


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