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Balboa Island finally going underground

July 13, 2000

Noaki Schwartz

BALBOA ISLAND -- After a dozen long years, the little island community

under threat by towering utility poles will finally have its wires and

cables moved underground.

"It really shouldn't have taken so long," said community leader Steve

Bromberg, who's participated in the effort as the Little Balboa Island

Property Assn's president until he recently stepped down.

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He added that the delay was partly because they had to gather

petitions and study the project, then faced the recession, followed by

some lagging organization.

After counting ballots from a communitywide vote, the city clerk on

Tuesday announced 147 residents in favor and only 33 against placing the

utilities underground.

Some of those against the effort said they are worried about the cost

of moving the lines underground. One family worried that the underground

construction would damage the foundation of their home.

Still, out of 231 lots, 180 Balboa Island community members voted and

showed overwhelming support for the project.

"We started 12 years ago when El Nino caused a telephone pole to catch

on fire," Bromberg said.

Recalling that the flaming wires were not more than 10 feet from his home, he worried about the community's safety. The dense, little

community could go up in flames if one house caught fire, Bromberg said.

"It's scary stuff," he said. "It's a good thing for the community,

people and property values."

Construction should begin in a couple months and the poles will come

down in about another year.

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