The Station Fire was the largest fire in Los Angeles County history, scorching over 160,000 acres of forestland. The 44th Assembly District was the epicenter of this devastating event. A true leader, Anthony was omnipresent during the firefight. He toured the front lines almost every night of the blaze and was on hand at the Red Cross shelter thanking the volunteers and comforting the evacuees. Anthony coordinated his efforts with the local city council, fire departments and sheriffs. His dedication to his constituents throughout the foothills garnered him tremendous respect. He was so dedicated that he was willing to lose legislative pay as the fire spread into Altadena.
“If I was going to stand by my own neighborhood, I had to give the same effort as the fire spread to other parts of the district.”
- Anthony Portantino
During the fire, Anthony was present and available at briefings and helped spread important public safety instructions to the public.
After the fire, Anthony was one of the first leaders to call for further investigation into issues surrounding the coordination of the firefighting efforts between the federal and State governments. Although the Station Fire affected multiple Assembly Districts, Anthony was the only legislator to testify before the Congressional Committee convened to investigate the fire. Anthony understands that the Angeles National Forest needs a champion in good times and during tragedies like the fire.
“Anthony was everywhere during the fire. I escorted him to the front lines and I was impressed by his interest and concern for residents throughout the foothills. He literally made me stop to comfort folks on almost every street.”
- Mike Leum, Longtime Search and Rescue Team Member
During the mud slides that followed the fire, Anthony made constant visits to the affected neighborhoods to check on the well-being of residents.
In his desire to help out the victims of the fires and mud slides, Anthony authored legislation that brought tax relief to families that suffered damage. Anthony secured broad bi-partisan support for his bill to aid these victims of the twin tragedies. After touring the mud slide areas with Governor Schwarzenegger, the bill was signed into law.
After historic wind storms devastated the foothills with millions of dollars of damage and left thousands of residents without power for days Anthony helped bring down representatives of the Governor’s office to personally tour the damage of many of the cities in the 25th Senate District. He then authored legislation to force public utilities to prepare for future disasters and better coordinated emergency efforts between the PUC, Counties, investor owned utilities and local cities. AB 1650 was a cutting edge effort to force everyone to work together. It will forever bring better reactions and coordination between those entrusted with keeping the lights on and our communities safe.
“Folks in Sierra Madre were quite impressed when Anthony showed up with members of the Governor’s staff and personally toured our community. That’s the type of representative that our community needs.” - Hon. John Harabedian, Former Mayor, Sierra Madre