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Supervisor’s office clarifies Heights donation

By Daniel Hernandez
La Habra Journal

A new letter from Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe’s office clarifies the funds donated to the La Habra Heights Community Support Foundation for the Jaws of Life gifted to the city. Seal_La Habra Heights

La Habra Heights Mayor Pro Tem Kyle Miller obtained the letter from the county supervisor’s office to outline the large sum donated by Supervisor Knabe to the foundation, explaining that not all of the money was intended for the Jaws of Life project, which was recently donated to the La Habra Heights Fire Department.

“It’s really a nice accomplishment that the residents of the community came together, over 50 of them, and donated towards the fundraising efforts,” Miller said about the resident’s portion of the donation for the equipment.

According to the new letter, the breakdown of the $28,734.58 donated by Knabe is that $22,000 was for the Jaws of Life fund, while $6,734.58 was sent for the Heights Watch Program, a neighborhood watch organized by the La Habra Heights Community Support Foundation.

City council members voted unanimously at the June council meeting to accept the Jaws of Life donation totaling the amount of $28,712.78, according to City Manager Shauna Clark.

With Knabe’s donation, this means LHH residents contributed approximately $6,712.78.

“If you don’t clarify, it appears like Knabe’s office paid for the entire thing, and we’re sort of hanging on to the resident’s donation, which is entirely untrue,” Miller  said. “I’m disappointed that a fundraising effort for our Fire Department, where over 50 residents came together along with Don Knabe’s office, would come into question from a false allegation.”LHHeights_JawsofLife

Members of the community contributed to funding of the equipment through donations and some fundraising through the Foundation’s Address Post Program, Miller explained.

The Address Post Program allows residents to have a clearly marked white plastic post filled with cement installed in front of there house with their address on it.

The idea behind it is to help emergency vehicles clearly see the address and respond quickly in an emergency.

The labor was conducted at no cost by volunteers, and the foundation charged residents $75 to install a post. All proceeds from this fundraiser contributed to the Jaws of Life fund.

Residents who donated larger amounts to the foundation for the Jaws of life fund were recognized at the June city council meeting.

Also, members of the La Habra Heights Fire Department displayed the new equipment at the June council meeting while residents observed.

The Foundation pursued donations for the Jaws of Life after they asked La Habra Heights Fire Chief Doug Graft what he believed was the most needed important improvement for the department.

Earlier this month the La Habra Journal reported that Knabe’s full $28,734.58 donation was intended for the use of the Jaws of Life donation.

This information, taken from a county document marked with a received date of January 30, 2015, was obtained by a Heights resident through a public records request, Miller surmised, and was left at the La Habra Heights city clerk’s counter during the last city council meeting.

According to Miller, the information acquired from that letter was incorrect and confusing, and that it was merely an internal letter from the county supervisor’s office.

The county supervisor’s office made a mistake in not including the specified amounts in what it called its internal memo obtained through a public record’s request according to Angie Valenzuela, deputy of Los Angeles County Supervisor, Fourth District.

Valenzuela also confirmed the breakdown of the amounts outlined on the letter recently obtained by Miller.

“In the future, we will ensure that all funds allocated are clearly specified,” Valenzuela said in an email.

Miller emphasized that no members of the foundation are paid, and at times members of the foundation use their own personal money to support community-related projects.

One of these projects, the Jaws of Life, is now in place with the La Habra Heights Fire Department.





Started in 1995, the La Habra Journal is an independent community news source serving the cities of La Habra and La Habra Heights.