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Piece of Mind: We're ready to stop feeling powerless

February 01, 2012|By Carol Cormaci

It was the squirrel that broke the restaurateur’s back.

And that of his next-door neighbor.

There may soon be a citizens revolt.

Taylor’s Steak House proprietor Bruce Taylor reports that he lost business Jan. 25 when electrical power went out in La Cañada just as customers were settling in for lunch. Because we were struck by an outage at the same time here, I can attest that there was no warning, no blinking of lights. Just that unnerving silence that comes when darkness comes suddenly and TVs, radios and computers shut down.

Ninety customers, Taylor said, figuring lunch would not be served, walked out of his restaurant and presumably took their appetites elsewhere.

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An Edison spokesman told us that more than 1,200 customers were affected, from La Crescenta east to Commonwealth Avenue in La Cañada. I think he was at least slightly mistaken: Our office is east of Commonwealth.

Much later in the day Edison told us the cause of that particular outage: It was a deadly misadventure of one of our bushy-tailed rodents.

We heard varying reports from residents and businesses about the duration of that incident, from minutes to hours. At our office, we were down less than 20 minutes. But the length of that outage is not the issue at this point. The fact that it was just one in a series of repeated outages that hit the foothills is what’s getting underneath everyone’s skin.

“The unbelievable number of power outages in La Cañada is an outrage to all citizens and businesses — we have had enough!!” Taylor wrote me in an email.

He was also speaking on behalf of his residential neighborhood, the leafy area near Descanso Gardens. But we had already heard about his neighbors’ collective anger from Diane Isaacs, who had been pushed over the brink by the latest episode.

Isaacs called me. She and her neighbor, Taylor, were so incensed over the repeated outages that they sent blistering letters to city officials demanding that they do something about it. Isaacs, who sees this as a safety issue, said we should all keep pressure on our local government to force Southern California Edison to improve the infrastructure here. She sent us a letter to the editor this week and, when last I heard, she was planning to call television reporters to get the word out that La Cañada Flintridge is like a Third World country — in terms of power service, anyway.

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