Three-dimensional perspective view of the likelihood that each region of California will experience a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake in the next 30 years (6.7 matches the magnitude of the 1994 Northridge earthquake, and 30 years is the typical duration of a homeowner mortgage). Graphic courtesy USGS.

As President Trump plans to slash funding for a west coast earthquake early warning system, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and first lady Elaine Wakeland will host an earthquake preparedness event Friday featuring seismology experts.

Garcetti bashed Trump for the budgeting cutback, saying it’s “an abandonment of his duty to protect Americans.”

While the mayor can’t do a lot about the federal budget, he can raise awareness about the dangers of the upcoming “Big One” temblor. So his event will begin at 12:45 p.m. Friday at the Getty House in Hancock Park, the official residence of the mayor of Los Angeles.

“We all know that the next major earthquake in Southern California is a `when,’ not an `if.’ And Angelenos understand that we must be prepared in our homes, workplaces, schools and everywhere that people we love spend their days,” Garcetti said. “Seconds count when the ground is shaking — that’s the reason behind our investment in earthquake early-warning technology, it’s why I signed the toughest seismic retrofit legislation in America, and it’s why we’re hosting this important discussion on how to keep our families and communities safe.”

Dr. Lucy Jones and Ken Hudnut of the U.S. Geological Survey, along with Los Angeles Chief Information Officer Ted Ross, are scheduled to take part in the event, which will include an earthquake simulation.

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, unveiled last month, looks to cut all funding for the West Coast earthquake early warning system which the U.S. Geological Survey has been developing in partnership with several major universities. The estimated cost of the system, which is not completed but on track to start operating by the end of 2018, is $38.3 million. It would cost $16.1 million to operate annually.

Garcetti, among others, has denounced the plan.

“The president’s proposal to eliminate funding for the West Coast’s earthquake early warning system is an abandonment of his duty to protect Americans, and I trust that our representatives in Congress will have the wisdom to reject a plan that could cost lives,” Garcetti said.

–City News Service

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