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Richard Hood: Chiquita landfill move doesn’t pass the smell test

SCV Voices

Posted: May 8, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: May 8, 2012 2:00 a.m.

The Castaic Area Town Council is a volunteer advisory group for the county. A council that fails in its mission becomes a detriment rather than a critical support to core American values, like representational government. Our constituents are what should be important to us, not whether the council is liked by, disappoints or gets to dine with county officials. To get this wrong guarantees mission failure and risks being co-opted, both personally and as a council.

The Chiquita Canyon Landfill expansion issue is a case in point. I learned at its public meeting that the landfill is scheduled to shut down as soon as it reaches its elevation or tonnage limits, or by 2019, whichever comes first.

It has already reached its weight limit, so it should shut down and be covered over, but the county is not shutting it down.

Now the landfill wants to go another 20 or 30 years beyond 2019, double the daily tonnage (from 6,000 to 12,000) and raise the elevation by 100 feet. Residents of 50 years are now noticing the bad smells, which can only get worse if the landfill is allowed to go higher. Sanitized human waste and hazardous household wastes are also now desired by the landfill. 

Not only is the county not shutting the landfill down, an advocate for the landfill expansion and nonresident has been recently appointed by the county to its oversight committee, rather than someone who lives in Val Verde with a vested interest in our community.

How does this not make representation for Val Verde, and the council’s so-called advisory role, a county stacked deck and sham?

Won’t doubling the capacity of the landfill give disadvantaged Val Verde the equivalent of a second landfill? Will the coming Newhall Ranch development be allowed to put its sewage treatment plant in our backyard, too?

Funds derived from the landfill do not compensate for the loss of quality of life and lower property values that having the landfill expansion will bring.

The council was not designed to be a booster club, a chamber of commerce or cheering section for the county. When any organization loses its way and its identity, by failing in its real job, it also loses its purpose, its reason for existence. It will then try, just as individuals will, to find its significance in ways and jobs it was never designed to do.

I don’t want the council becoming either an unreliable watchdog or a false flag operation the county uses for its own purposes and against its own citizens. I want my constituents protected, not threatened, and our employees — our civil servants, to understand that for America to work, they must remember who is supposed to work for whom.

Richard Hood is a Val Verde resident.


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