North Valley Coalition Newsletter October 2003

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PATRIOT OIL TRUST FUND OF 2002

The NVC administers the Patriot Oil Trust Fund, and we are using the funds in the following ways that we hope will please you. We will be providing security in the form of a private patrol in the community, particularly focusing on problem areas such as inappropriate and illegal late-night activities around Sesnon, O’Melveny Park, Bee Canyon Park, and Van Gogh School. We are also donating a Kiosk to the parks for posting information about community activities, lost animals, etc. Additionally, we are purchasing an automatic dialing machine for use by the neighborhood homeowners organizations, non-profits, the Granada Hills North Neighborhood Council, and local schools.

 

GAIN A PARK, LOSE A PLAYGROUND

We are pleased to have Bee Canyon Park extended to Balboa Boulevard. The restoration of the creek, planting of new trees, the outdoor classroom and revegetation were all made possible through funds provided by the Sunshine Canyon Amenities Committee Trust Fund, and funds obtained through the 12th District Council office. Unfortunately, the playground is closed, as are many throughout the City. This is due to a requirement that the rubber mats be replaced by sand, and that the swings be upgraded for safety reasons. Money for the upgrades will not be available until spring, if then. Rest assured, that the NVC will aggressively pursue funding to open this important area.

 

Aliso Canyon and Prop K Funds

Thanks to all of you who responded to our request for letters of support for the purchase of land in Aliso Canyon. The land is to be set aside for use as open space and equestrian purposes using Proposition K funds if the Council office can get them.

 

New Bus Service (236)

Thanks to the efforts of the NVC and the Neighborhood Council

working together, we now have a bus service that goes up Balboa Boulevard and links us to the Metrolink in Sylmar. You can take the train downtown and leave your car in the garage. Remember that the original proposal was to stop the bus service to Knollwood and to end the line at Rinaldi. We hope that many of you will use this important service.
Schedules may be accessed at: http://www.mta.net/.

 

See The Woodlands And Enjoy Its Beauty

You have probably heard of the forests that exist over the ridge on the north-facing slopes of our Santa Susana Mountains. Although BFI has destroyed thousands of trees, there are still canyons that contain wonderful forests. Those who are interested in seeing more of the beautiful areas that the Coalition is actively trying to protect, contact the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy at their Towsley@smmc.ca.gov website.

The Conservancy offers many interesting hikes that feature animal tracking, bird observation, and even views of the night sky. Other hikes include the historic oil town of Mentryville, and others will feature Native American life in these mountains.
If you would like more information on the preservation of this incredible resource please contact The Santa Clarita Woodlands Consortium at 363-3040.

 

WHERE IT GOES — WHAT IT DOES

Often we are asked why we don’t have our attorney at various hearings.

The plain truth is that many times we can’t afford to. The attorney that we use is committed to helping us, and works for a fraction of the hourly rate of BFI’s attorneys. Nevertheless, we need to pay him. As a non-profit, we cannot use any of our operating funds to pay for legal bills. We know many of you have donated to the legal fund in the past and must wonder what we have done with the money. You deserve an answer….
Apart from the invaluable legal advice we have received that has helped us delay many different permits, we have taken two cases to the Superior Court and the Court of Appeals. As of this article, we still have one of those cases remaining to be heard in the Court of Appeals. Most importantly, we have kept this corporate giant at bay, and the City dump expansion has languished unopened since 1999. Should the dump receive their Waste Discharge Requirement Permit (WDR), we want to immediately appeal to the Water Resources Board. Without your help we may not be able to mount that legal challenge.
We all know the risks to the water, the health, and the environment that this huge expansion will bring, but also be warned that there are very substantial monetary consequences for the neighborhood. If the City side reopens, you are required to state in any sale, that your house is near the second largest dump in the United States. Obviously, the value your home will decrease as compared to similar homes in other areas.
Contributing to the legal fund is most important. Also, if you have ideas for fundraising or would organize a fundraiser, contact us at 360-7635. We need your help. ……Thank you all in advance.
Make your check payable to: The North Valley Coalition, 11862 Balboa Blvd., Box 172, Granada Hills, CA 91344. Please mark “Legal Fund” in memo section of check.

 

GOODBYE FROM OUR DEAR ESTHER

“The highest reward for a person’s toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it.” John Rushkin

In the too few years that I lived in Granada Hills I learned the meaning of toil, reward and becoming. Few learn it in a lifetime. The lessons weren’t difficult. They were frustrating and time consuming. The challenge was intense and personal. The reward was heart rendering. I have left Granada Hills. My heart is full and my life changed forever.
This letter is for all the wonderful people I met and worked with during those short years. The NVC is bursting with colorful variations of humanity, all of you special, all of you with something to offer. Granada Hills is because of the NVC. I had the privilege of working with Mary Edwards, the architect of the Coalition. To this day she rings me on Mondays, no longer to give me the agenda for the week but to tell me that she misses me. I miss her too. Wayde Hunter, our Australian import, now president of the NVC, is a dedicated member with a wealth of information. Anne Ziliak, our water girl; ask her anything about the flow of water and contamination, she will tell you. Mary Ellen Crosby, protector of the park and anything in it. Mary Anna Kienholtz, woman behind the scenes; without her the paperwork would be overwhelming. Ralph Kroy, photographer, 50 years from now anyone interested in the NVC will have a pictorial history. Ed You, actor in residence, he is always available when you want to make a visual statement Barbara, editor for the newsletter, will no doubt find mistakes in this one. Becky Bendickson, newcomer, whose energy and dedication are already inspiring.
To all of you, thank you for motivating and encouraging me to become. To Mr. Ray Cote and the others who acknowledged my work, thank you for giving me the incentive to carry on.

I know that I have toiled; my reward has been the friendships I’ve made, the people I’ve met, the community I carry with me in my heart. My hope is that I have become the person deserving of the reward. Adios and thank you all for having me
Yours sincerely, Esther Simmons

 

REGIONAL WATER QUALITY CONTROL BOARD

The last two Water Board meetings have ended in continuations (postponements). Of course, the community presented many issues cogently and articulately but as usual, the Board’s staff presented a PowerPoint presentation that sounded like (and it probably was) scripted by BFI. The liner installed in the County Dump, the one you saw samples of at BFI’s Scoping meetings, is already leaking. As you may remember, it was presented to you as one that would “afford state-of-the-art protection”. This says something about either how good the state of the art protection is, or something about a conflagration involving BFI’s pants. You know, “Liar, liar, pants on fire”.

In case we don’t win and the permit is approved, we are requesting a double-liner. As usual, they are opposing even this important upgrade. It didn’t take them long to figure out that even the small improvements asked for by the Staff were going to cost them $13,000,000. It’s a pity they couldn’t figure out what it would cost in dollars and lives lost if the dump was ever to leak. We could go on and on about the absurd placement of the proposed dump, the problems with the permit and the potential impacts on our community. Many of the facts are printed on the back of the enclosed flyer. Please copy the flyer and distribute it everywhere since everyone in Southern California drinks, or uses, the vulnerable water supply directly adjacent to the ever-expanding Sunshine Canyon dump.
We were encouraged that the Water Board members asked penetrating questions of their staff and seemed particularly concerned about the health issues. This is a topic that some of you may want to address at the hearing. As a result of the Board’s action and at the urging of the County Board of Supervisors, the County Health Department is getting involved. ….See you at the hearing on Thursday, November 6th.

 

SUPPORT YOUR GHNNC

The Granada Hills North Neighborhood Council was certified by the City of Los Angeles and has a duly elected Board of Directors who invite you to participate in the process of advising the City of our community’s opinions on such things as: 1) Priorities for City Budget funding, 2) proposed DWP Heliport in Granada Hills, 3) siting of cell towers, 4) Granada Hills Charter School, 5) proposed expansion of Hillcrest Christian School, 6) traffic on Balboa that is overburdening our community, 7) compliance of housing projects, 8) placement of news racks, 9) protection from the effects of Sunshine Canyon landfill, and 10) unsafe conditions you have observed in our community.

Regular meetings are held the last Monday of each month at 7:00 P.M. at the Van Gogh Street School, 17160 Van Gogh Street, Granada Hills. In addition, we have many standing committees that also meet.
You can determine your stakeholder status by reading our Bylaws and keep up to date on our website — http://www.ghnnc.org — where meeting agendas and other calendar events are posted.
Please join us at any or all of these meetings to tell us of your concerns, and to be kept informed of our community’s concerns and issues. For more information, contact Chairperson Becky Bendikson at 360-7113.

 

SPECIAL PEOPLE

The North Valley Coalition is proud to announce that we have selected Fran and Robin Navickas as our Environmental Citizens of the Year. This dynamic duo has for decades been involved in the most worth environmental efforts. Their love of trees and preserving forests has been an inspiration to us all. Thank you Fran and Robin.