Jackson media issues and public safety addressed in Encino

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erika1101BY ERIKA OBLEA

While the world commemorated the life of entertainer Michael Jackson this past week, Encino residents confronted the evidence of the late singer’s fame on their streets. With the media and mourners gathering around the Jackson family residence on Hayvenhurst Avenue, the Encino Neighborhood Council held a special meeting last night to address the issue.

At the meeting, city officials, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Department of Transportation informed the public about the traffic situation on Hayvenhurst Avenue as well as addressed residents’ concerns about the media attention surrounding the Jackson home.

According to president of the Encino Neighborhood Council Rob Glushon, public safety has been the major focus of the city when addressing the situation.

“It’s not about convenience. [The issues] are about public safety – that people can get out of their driveways and fire trucks can get out as well,” Glushon said.

Rob Glushon, president of Encino Neighborhood Council, addresses community members regarding crowds and the Jackson media coverage.

Rob Glushon, president of the Encino Neighborhood Council, addresses community members regarding crowds and the Jackson media coverage.

Residents at the meeting remarked that the large number of visitors to the area has led to the increase of loud media generators and helicopters, speeding drivers, and blocked areas. The inability of drivers to back out of the parking lot at the Gelson’s SuperMarket on Ventura Boulevard was also of particular concern.

Since the death of Jackson, police have closed Hayvenhurst Avenue and have issued more patrolling officers to monitor the streets surrounding the Jackson home. “No Parking” signs were also placed on Libbit Street.

Glushon said that the council has worked with both the LAPD and the Department of Public Transportation in order to control the amount of media trucks that have been parked on streets. He said that cooperation with the LAPD led to the relocation of twelve satellite media trucks to public streets as well as the prevention of a person driving under the influence from entering the crowded Hayvenhurst Street.

By 11 p.m. last night, LAPD captain John Eagan said that Hayvenhurst Avenue would be reopened while the remaining “No Parking” signs on Libbit Street would be removed in order to allow residents to use the streets again. The Jackson family will also remove the memorial wall that was placed on public streets.

“This is a real collaboration effort. Your police department takes these issues seriously,” Eagan said.

Although many of the residents claimed they have appreciated these efforts, many brought up the question of who would be paying for the extra efforts the city has made to control the area.

While City Councilmember Paul Koretz, who represents part of the San Fernando Valley including Encino, said that the city may ask the Jackson family to help with costs, he said that it was still necessary for the city to have paid for the police efforts.

“We could have spent less, but we would have had people in danger,” Koretz said.

Though Koretz said that the issues with media attention should fade since the memorial for Jackson happened on Tuesday, he acknowledged that traffic near the Jackson residence will always remain an issue in the future.

“This is an off and on issue…as they deal with custody issues and state issues,” he said.

For now, Encino resident Preston Robins said that he is pleased with the city’s handle of the situation despite the heavy traffic.

“There was traffic – people speeding through the streets…But the bottom line is everyone did a good job,” he said.

Erika Oblea is a rising sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley where she is studying Political Science and Statistics. When she’s not cramming for exams at the library, she’s reporting on businesses in Berkeley for The Daily Californian. She is a graduate of Chaminade and has lived in the Valley ever since she  could remember –and could probably recite the exits off the 101 backwards and forwards.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.