Trashing the Valley

first_imgWe’re not sure what’s worse, that the Los Angeles City Council voted 13-1 on Tuesday to continue dumping in Sunshine Canyon for the next five years, or that it did so under a bogus pretext. The council members swear they weren’t really extending the city’s contract with Browning Ferris Industries to keep dumping on the Granada Hills community. This was just a temporary measure, an “extension” so that “negotiations” with the trash giant over use of Sunshine Canyon can continue until March 17. Then, they claim, they will finally do what they have failed to do these past six months and these past six years for that matter – get a better deal for the people of L.A. Don’t believe it for a second. As the City Attorney’s Office has made clear, by accepting BFI’s last-minute proposal, the council did, in fact, approve the five-year contract. Period. It can rescind the contract any time between now and March 17, but doing that would take the support of eight council members. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant Make no mistake about it: The very nature of the city’s dealings with BFI has now changed decidedly in BFI’s favor. No longer must the council actively do something for the dumping to continue; that will happen even if it does nothing – and doing nothing is what the council does best. Don’t be surprised if, come March 17, the council finds itself where it is now, still having failed to fully research dumping alternatives, and still unwilling to make the investments to stop dumping in urban areas. Members will wring their hands over whether they should rescind the BFI deal they just approved, but some – most likely those living farthest away from Granada Hills – will say there’s just no other option. And when the final votes are cast, don’t be surprised if the council falls just short of the majority needed to overturn the deal. The council’s Valley members will be able to return to their districts and say they tried to stop Sunshine Canyon, hoping that constituents won’t remember that on Feb. 28, they voted to perpetuate it. That said, not all members of the council disgraced themselves equally. Some credit is due to Alex Padilla – the lone councilman who denounced this sham deal for what it was and voted against it. Greig Smith, likewise, is the only council member who has seriously taken on the issue of finding alternatives to the Granada Hills landfill. Still, one good vote doesn’t change the fact that Padilla did very little in his tenure as City Council president to address this issue, and that that inaction made the prolonged dumping at Sunshine Canyon all but inevitable. Nor does Smith’s good work in the past justify his vote in favor of more dumping – a move that provided political cover for his cowardly colleagues to do the same. We’ve seen these sorts of shenanigans before. Last year, council members approved a hated plan for LAX expansion, with a wink-wink promise that they wouldn’t really act on their own legislation. Now they’re pulling the same trick – approving perpetual dumping, while insisting that, somehow, perpetual dumping won’t really result. The contempt for the public is bad enough, but the dishonesty is even worse. These deals-that-aren’t-deals aren’t fooling anybody. They’re just making fools of the city’s leaders. And the biggest fool of all in this deal is the mayor himself, Antonio Villaraigosa, who betrayed his promise to stop city dumping at Sunshine Canyon. The mayor, who is everywhere talking nonstop about everything, was silent on the issue. Villaraigosa proved to be as invisible as his predecessor, who made and broke the same promise, and ended up on the scrap heap of the city’s political history.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more