Report on the State Senate Select Committee on Urban Landfills
The discussion focused on the State Audit of Integrated Waste Management which was completed in December 2000. The audit proved we were right in our belief that there was ‘limited authority and weak oversight which diminished the ability to protect public health and the environment’.
We are encouraged by the agreement of all of the senators, the recycling groups, and most of the enforcement agencies that urban landfills do not belong in residential neighborhoods and that there are serious issues that need to be resolved and alternatives to be implemented. We look forward to all of them ( Los Angeles City Mayor Jim Hahn, all of the County Supervisors, and the State Senators) working together to solve our landfill problem. Thanks to all of you who sent representatives on your behalf.
These discussions will continue in various communities around the state until this problem is resolved. The next scheduled meeting is in Hacienda Heights on September 19th, 2001.
We REALLY wish to thank all of our neighbors and coalition members who got up and took the bus downtown. Public support shows everybody how important this issue is to the Valley. We thank you very much. And of course, if anyone wishes to go to the September 19, 2001st meeting, we could rent another bus!
Starting this month, we will be given regular reports from our Councilman’s office for our newsletter. Greig Smith, Chief Deputy, will be informing us of issues that affect us so that we can have some input before actions take place or decisions are made. We would all like to know what is going on before it happens rather than being shocked to wake up one morning and have a retail store on our cul-de-sac. Okay that never really happened, but you get the picture .
Thank you, Greig.
We would also like to take this opportunity to remind you of the importance of joining, attending and volunteering to sit on committees at your neighborhood council meetings.
Report from City Hall
By Greig Smith, Chief Deputy, Councilman Hal Bernson
Over the years, one of the most heard complaints by our staff has been the condition of the streets in the City of Los Angeles. Last year there was a concerted effort to rebuild infrastructure in the city by increasing the amount of roadwork. During the years that Tom Bradley was Mayor the city averaged 17 miles of road repaving. This year the Council increased it to 276 miles.
In Granada Hills a majority of the work being done is in the older Granada Village area of the community. These streets were in the worst condition and many of the roads had not been repaired in 40 years. One of the positive things that can be said about the 1994 earthquake is that many of the roads in the north Granada Hills area were repaved by FEMA. We are now in the process of identifying further roadwork needs in north Granada Hills. If you are interested in more information on the work plans, contact Sandy in the Councilman’s Northridge office…818-756-8501.
Parks: As part of the settlement agreement with BFI over the expansion into the County territory, $1 million was given to the local area for community improvements. Councilman Bernson established the Granada Hills Amenities Committee to oversee the use of the money. Initially, $500,000 was given to local groups doing good things in our community. A full list of these allocations is available by calling me at 213-485-3343.
A second program of development is now underway for the use of the remaining $500,000. The committee has been working with the
Department of Recreation and Parks about additional development of the Lower Canyon Bee Park. Plans include rebuilding of all four bridges in the park, (from the NVC: And you know how happy that makes our Environmental Citizen of the Year –Mary Ellen Crosby!) upgrading of landscape, reconstruction of the streambed, and most significant the extension of the park to Balboa Boulevard. Plans will be finished shortly and a public meeting will be called to review and comment on the plans. They estimate the public meetings may take place in the final quarter of this year.
Two projects are being proposed for development in the north Granada Hills area. The first is a 7–11 to be built on the Northeast corner of Balboa and Rinaldi and the second is the expansion of Hillcrest Christian School on the Northwest corner of Rinaldi and Balboa (Shoshone).
It is the Councilman’s policy not to comment on projects before the City Planning Commissions reports and issue their final plans. We do however make recommendation to that planning process and comments and ideas are welcome. We encourage your thoughts to be sent to the Councilman and we incorporate them into his final position at the appropriate time and send them to the Commission as is appropriate. It is important to note that, with the rare exception of something such as the dump, Hal does not make public announcements about his support or opposition to projects until the time when projects are finalized, i.e. After the Planning Commission. But your input now is welcome on these proposals.
For further information, contact James in the Northridge office. 818-756-8501.
Council District 4 Special Election
Please remember to vote September 11
We are a non-profit organization and as a group we make no candidate endorsements.
We have received the following statements from candidates running for Council District 4, vacant due to the death of Councilman John Ferraro.
We feel obligated to keep all of our community informed of any matter that involves the community in which we live. We have made our best effort to contact all the candidates running and if we received no response we used the candidates last public response if available.
We hope that the following allows you to make an informed decision.
The future of the Sunshine Canyon Dump is a tough issue. As a city council person, I will work with other members of the council and the mayor to make sure we come up with a compromise on the expansion of the Sunshine Canyon dump that carefully takes into consideration the health and safety of residents living near the facility. I would want to hold more public hearings to get a clearer picture of what the issues are.
The City Council’s vote to approve the expansion of Sunshine Canyon Dump has clearly given residents in the North Valley the dangerous impression that the City was not looking out for their best interest. The private company that operates the dump facility must be held accountable for ensuring our health and safety.
I am opposed to expansion of the Sunshine Canyon dump. The city should not place the interests of the landfill operator ahead of the neighborhoods. Increased recycling efforts must play a role in alleviating the situation and we must look at other options other than using the Valley as a dumping ground.
I am opposed to the Sunshine Canyon dump. We must be careful about exposing our children to harmful carcinogens in our trash. I am a supporter of a clean environment. To me the Sierra Club is more important than real estate and manufacturing developers.
At the North Hollywood Residents Association all the candidates present were asked to how they felt about toilet to tap and the Sunshine Canyon landfill expansion. Tom Labonge said that he “agreed with the expansion with mitigation.”
If I were “that one vote” , you would be safe! Nothing I’ve read, heard or studied about this project convinces me I should vote to approve the Sunshine Canyon Dump project…Nothing!
Money can never take the place of the value of human life.
One of the things I believe should be done now is to remove all the recyclables that over crowd our existing landfills. This would give us the needed space until we can employ technologies that exist to eradicate the problem. And, it would put all those recyclables back into circulation.
We must fight this….and win!
The Sunshine Canyon Dump expansion should never have been approved and, if elected, I pledge that I will do everything in my power to stop the planned expansion. Three of the four leading candidates have taken massive amounts of campaign contributions from special interests, lobbyists and developers. Their commitments are to their campaign contributors, not to residents of the area. Of the four, only I have not, nor will I, take any money from lobbyists, special interests or developers, so my commitments are to constituents only. Sunshine Canyon, like the Billboard Ordinance before it, only shows the negative and cynical impact on the political process by big money contributors. We need to bring to this city a more open and accountable governmental process to prevent disasters like Sunshine Canyon in the future.
As an avid environmental activist who began my political career at age 12 getting arrested while protesting the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant I can unequivocally tell you that I oppose the Sunshine Canyon Landfill.
We need to increase recycling for both businesses and residences and stop creating more and more landfills. I also support giving neighborhood councils real decision-making power over planning and land use so that projects like this will be discussed and decided by the community which will have to live with them.
-Denise Munro Robb
There is no good alternative toward waste disposal in the case of Sunshine Canyon. The consequence of closing Sunshine down would be to transport waste east to either Eagle Mountain next to Joshua Tree National Monument, or to Mesquite Canyon in sensitive parts of the California desert. Neither of these is an entirely satisfactory solution. We cannot speak of “environmental justice” and at the same time close a landfill which will cause tremendous amounts of trash to be transported along Interstate 10 and especially Highway 60 – the Pomona Freeway – that already have high levels of trash trucks and trash facilities running and operating within the poorest neighborhoods. In addition, active landfills do not appear to be as major a problem as closed landfills. In the 1980s stringent restrictions were placed on the engineering and construction of active landfills. Consequently, a “violation” at Sunshine is not even remotely comparable to one at a closed landfill like Toyon in Griffith Park.
So what is the answer? More waste reduction, recycling, and more educational programs on what we can do to reduce, reuse and recycle our trash. As a member for the past four years of the California Integrated Waste Management Board I have worked to fund innovative solutions to reducing our trash output and also to increase penalties for violators.
As a Board member, I have personally visited every landfill, municipal recycling facility, and transfer station in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. As a Council member I will be open to all concerns on ways we can best reduce any problem as it may relate to the health or inconvenience of people who live near waste facilities and transportation corridors
District 4 as you know, consists only of that Valley area from Burbank border to Colfax, and area south of Chandler, and does not include the proposed Dump site.
I have no donations from any special interest involved in that project and as a Councilman I would not accept donations from anyone having scheduled hearings with the Council. I strongly favor alternative technologies and location, and having had a substantial Nevada rental investment for years I have been very sensitive to the Dump issue, the federal plans for storage of nuclear waste in Nevada, and would be vigilant to protect Valley residential areas even though it was not within my district; councilmen do have a responsibility for the whole community too.
I am unequivocally in favor of closing down the Sunshine Canyon Landfill for four distinct reasons:
1) A promise was made to the residents that the contract would not be extended or renewed. A promise made should be a promise kept; it was wrong to break this promise due to pressure from BFI, their lobbyists and their money.
2) The benefits of the dump do not stand up to the negative environmental and quality of life impacts on the community. The dump is too close to homes, schools and water treatment facilities to be safe or tolerable. The dump should not be expanded and should, in fact, be closed.
3) The voice of the people negatively impacted by the dump should be listened to, not the spin of BFI, their lobbyists or their campaign contributions.
4) The landfill is not necessary: the bulk of the trash isn’t from Los Angeles and by utilizing remote locations, material recovery facilities and recycling, we can easily get by without it.