In February, Caltrans hired Autobahn Construction, Inc. to repair a collapsed hillside that forced the closure of a portion of the 10/57 Freeway interchange in San Dimas.
Now, some two months and $3.25 million later, the “repaired” hillside has again collapsed, leaving commuters and taxpayers wondering if we got what we paid for.
The first bit of research into Autobahn Construction isn’t reassuring. Let’s hope the company did a better job rebuilding the hillside than it did building it’s Web site.
The Web site appears to be in as much disarray as the crumbling San Dimas hillside.
It features the company’s name, logo, address and a few photos of enthusiastic workers. But the rest is gobbledygook and generic filler text. It looks like someone quit in the middle of the job.
One would think a $3.25 million government contract would buy something a little better.
Caltrans has yet to identify why the hillside collapsed for a second time. It’s entirely possible the new slide is absolutely no fault whatsoever of Autobahn.
But the company’s online presence certainly could do more to inspire public confidence in its work.
While pouring through the stack of documents released by Duarte through a public records request, there was an interesting set of e-mails that came forward.
Duarte used an e-mail address of firstname.lastname@example.org with the name Duarte Crime Tips to send an e-mail reminding residents of the Vulcan Public Hearings.
The e-mails asked residents to attend the meetings and express openings and concerns on the matter. It then gave information on the time and place of the meeting.
Some people have raised objections to Duarte’s use of an e-mail blast seemingly for crime and public safety tips as a means to negatively portray the project and hearings in a misleading light.
But officials with the city’s public safety division said that all of those people who sign up for the e-mail blast are aware the city uses it for updates on city events and issues, as well as public safety matters.
“Almost all of the people on the list have signed up through either a neighborhood watch meeting or a city public safety meeting and we tell them right up front when they are signing on the list what is going to come out,” Duarte Public Safety Director Brian Villalobos said. “It is kind of a dual purpose.”
The Public Safety Division operates out of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department substation in Duarte.
The e-mails mostly deal with emergency preparedness tips and crime trends, but occasionally is used for city informational purposes, Villalobos said.
When asked if the thought there was a concern that using an e-mail address that appears to be from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as a means to spread information about this issue might be misleading, Villalobos rejected the notion.
“It is informational,” he said.
What do you think? Should the city use a “Crime Tips” e-mail address to send out information on matters not related to crime?