Sunday, October 23, 2005

Undergrounding Utilities in Manhattan Beach

In 1969 when I moved to Manhattan Beach one of the big topics was undergrounding utilities. The main argument was that it cost too much and only benefited a few people. Thirty six years later and the arguments against undergrounding haven't changed. Now instead of the price being $3,000-$10,000 it's $25,000 to $70,000 in some areas. In the next few weeks homeowners will vote on undergrounding utilities in their neighborhoods. I read one letter from a disgruntled homeowner who claimed this was all the fault of real estate agents. Some agents who lived in her neighborhood were actually trying to persuade people to vote for the project. She knew that the whole concept of utility undergrounding was simply a fiendish plot devised by real estate agents. This lady couldn't grasp the fact that the agents lived in the neighborhood and they would also be paying money to fund the project.
Over the years I heard all the pro and con arguments about undergrounding. My personal opinion is that we should underground for a number of reasons.
First.. having lived for fifteen years in the Sand Section with a utility pole in front of my living room window.. let me tell you you never get used to it. The poles are ugly. If I still lived in that part of town I would definitely vote for the removal of the poles.
Currently I live in East Manhattan and truthfully haven't decided how I feel about the issue here. I suppose I will make a decision when I get a clearer number on the cost. Part of me thinks that neighborhoods just look better without the poles and that having them underground may be a safer option. I am not sure that I think it's worth $70,000 to protect a view I don't have......

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