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Attn. City Hall: What Happened to Urgent Cleanup? Where Is It?

Re “Absolutely Rink Is Safe, Inspector Asserts” and “‘Nonsense,’ Lawyer/Mother Says of Ice Rink Ammonia Peril”

What happened to the red-light urgency, indeed the public health threat, that Monday night’s overflow City Council meeting crowd of ice skating partisans was told had to be resolved at least instantly at the Culver City Ice Arena.

The ammonia needed to be removed swiftly, before business could resume so that no one along Sepulveda Boulevard would harmed by the threatening gases.

The tone of the Council meeting was unequivocal.

Danger has descended into the community’s presence.

Protecting public safety and healthy is our No. 1 responsibility, Council members up and down the dais repeatedly pledged until it became an echo.

Meanwhile, transparency at City Hall has vanished.

Since the Council meeting, the onetime putative sense of fire-engine urgency of removing the supposedly life-threatening ammonia has been melting faster than ice cubes in an oven.

No fire engines or hazard-removing companies are running at breakneck speed to the ice rink.

Forty-eight hours later, they have not even left home.

Will they ever?

Not clear.

If peril looms up and down the longest street in Los Angeles County, shouldn’t something be happening?

Apparently not.

City Manager John Nachbar this afternoon was asked for a copy of the hottest document on the Westside, the Fire Marshal’s report that ammonia at the 52-year-old ice rink must be removed before the public’s health is further endangered.


“You could submit a Public Records request,” Mr. Nachbar said. “We are not releasing it yet.”

Why? The public’s welfare is imperiled, isn’t it?

“I know there is a great desire,” he said. “People are anxious to see it. We are working to address that. But we are not ready to release it.”

The newspaper reported earlier today that Complete Thermal, Inc. of Orange County, which has served the Ice Arena for more than two decades, attests that no threat exists, that the arena property is as safe as the day it opened.

City Hall, of all people, has engaged this same company.

“We have retained Complete Thermal,” Mr. Nachbar said.  “We have them under contract as well with that the thinking, the more expertise, professionals we can retain, the better. Complete Thermal, they are the ones that have been maintaining the rink, some components. I don’t know about the entire rink, but some aspects for at least the last 20 years. I think one of their employees has been working on things at the rink even longer. We thought it would be useful to have them as a resource.”

Question: How did the city come up with Complete Thermal’s name? Did you ask people at the Arena?

“I spoke with the arena people that are associated with AEG.”

Is there a cleanup starting time for Complete Thermal?

“Well, they are under contract with us now. We are talking with them as well.”

When are they scheduled to start?

“They are under contract. I mean, they don’t have a task yet. We have them under contract so that we have them available as a resource. As we determine how we are going to proceed, we will see how we are able to use them.”

They have not been formally directed to do anything?

“No, they have not. Now I don’t know for sure because I am not the one directing them. The Fire Dept. is. Check with the Fire Dept. See if they have assigned Complete Thermal any tasks at this point. If they have, I am not aware of it. Now I don’t know for sure because I am not the one directing them.”

It is 100 percent that Complete Thermal is going through with it, the cleanup, the cleanout, the removal. Whatever it is.

“No, I am not saying they will be the ones performing that task, either. We are still in the midst of finalizing the process that we pursue. We have them onboard as a resource, but we haven’t, you know, we haven’t determined yet, I don’t think, completely what role they will be playing.

“We have not retained them to decommission the facility, if that is what you are thinking. Oh, no. We have retained them as a resource to assist us in determining how best to proceed, and also maybe being... the fact they’ve got, the fact they have been working there the last 20 or 30 years, we have been thinking they could be helpful to us in this process.”

But there is a sense of urgency. Is that correct?

“Well, there is a sense of urgency. But we are trying to be also, um, move with a sense of urgency, but also carefully at the same time and make sure we conduct ourselves properly.”

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