It turns out that Secretary of State Alex Padilla and his family are among the thousands of Porter Ranch residents to relocate while natural gas continues to blast from a leaking well nearby. Padilla was on NBC News Conference Sunday with Conan Nolan and mentioned that his family is living in a Burbank hotel. They have been there for more than a month.
"We bought a home a year and a half ago, never imagining our American dream come true would be interrupted like this," Padilla said. "Between the kids and my wife feeling some of the side effects we have heard in the news, not taking any chances with three little ones we are temporary dislocated... in the meantime we are in a hotel in Burbank and we are making do."
He turned the moment into a pitch for more spending on infrastructure.
"It is not just bridges, it's not just schools...but whether it is water or gas infrastructure it has to be maintained," Padilla said. "To know about what we don't know about methane leaks and the amount of gas that has come out of that Aliso Canyon facility is very concerning to me as a father and a husband."
The leaking methane that has made some Porter Ranch residents sick, and scared others about possible longterm health effects, is coming from an older well in the Aliso Canyon Gas Storage Facility, operated by Southern California Gas on the slopes of Oat Mountain and the Santa Susanas up hill from homes in Porter Ranch. Several thousand residents have applied for relocation help and students have been temporarily removed from two schools in Porter Ranch.
Congressman Brad Sherman also has a home in Porter Ranch.
An LA Times editorial over the weekend chided Gov. Jerry Brown and state officials for being quick to declare Porter Ranch a disaster zone but slow to offer help to the areas around the Exide Technologies battery recycling plant in Vernon where lead contamination has spread to nearby communities. Actually, officials weren't very quick to get involved in Porter Ranch — the leak has been going on since Oct. 23 and it was December before the official response really picked up the pace. But it has been two years since the state Department of Toxic Substances Control issued warnings that dozens of homes near Exide's closed plant had unsafe levels of lead. "Additional tests revealed that the contamination was widespread, and last August, the department said that as many as 10,000 additional homes could be tainted," the Times editors said. "Yet, to date, only 191 homes have been cleaned up."