John Musella
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Since the November election came to a close, the lies and misinformation keep coming from the fringe left-wingers in the Santa Clarita Valley, Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment.

First we had the group challenging the planned joining of the Newhall County Water District with the Castaic Lake Water Agency. All sorts of lies and misinformation were provided in an attempt to mislead the public against creating a single water agency for the Santa Clarita Valley.

I mean, why wouldn’t you want one agency working on a holistic approach to water in the SCV, all while saving ratepayers $14 million?

Then we discovered that landfill opponents were deliberately misleading the public to believe there were cancer clusters around the landfill.

Yes, opponents of the landfill took a county environmental document and made it their own calling it a “Cancer Risk Map” and falsely claiming the map was from the Draft Environmental Impact Report.

Unfortunately, many people fell for their ploy and began to panic. To quell the growing concern, the landfill quickly responded with the following statement:

“Chiquita Canyon takes seriously the health and safety of our employees and neighbors. The DEIR included a detailed forensic analysis of all possible impacts to public health using the newest, most stringent standards set by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD).

“The results conclude that cancer risk/health risk for neighbors, workers and other sensitive receptors fall below the threshold of significance as established by the AQMD.”

Yes, that’s right, nothing to worry about here – except the fact that the landfill opponents play fast and loose with the numbers to make false claims against a well-run local business which has been safely disposing of our waste in the Santa Clarita Valley for more than 40 years.

I’m all for differences of opinions and respectful discourse and civil discussion, but when did deliberate lying and falsehoods become the norm?

If you can’t make your argument using factual information, then please don’t join the debate.

And while we’re on the subject of SCOPE and landfill opponents’ lies, let’s clear the air on the odor myth.

Last year, in response to a growing public perception regarding odors, Chiquita Canyon, on its own initiative, hired a nationally recognized firm specializing in odor analysis to conduct an independent odor survey at Chiquita Canyon. That firm concluded Chiquita does not create significant odor impacts to the surrounding community.

Three trained specialists collected 2,025 sampling data points over a 25-day period in the community surrounding the landfill. Only five of the 2,025 data points (only 0.2 percent) were potentially associated with landfill odors in the Val Verde community.

These findings support the records of the AQMD, which has record of only three verified odor complaints in a five-year period between August 2007 and July 2012. No verified odor complaint has ever been associated with landfill gas emissions from Chiquita Canyon.

When verified odors have occurred, they appear to be correlated to light winds blowing toward the community of Val Verde, which only occurs approximately 6 percent of the time.

Now here is where the real interesting part of the lying of landfill opponents comes in. In July 2015, the Val Verde Community Advisory Committee hired an environmental consultant to conduct air sampling to determine the air quality in Val Verde as it relates to the landfill.

When the report came back showing the air in Val Verde was clean, the advisory committee hid the report from Val Verde residents. That’s right, members never shared the truth with their neighbors.

They were convinced a problem existed, and when they were told otherwise by their own report they tucked it away.

So, in the spirit of truth and transparency, Chiquita Canyon published it on its website for the public to see. Take a look at the report yourself at

It’s time to hold these fringe groups on the left accountable for their words and actions. We deserve the truth and we deserve a respectful discussion and debate of the issues.

John Musella serves on the 38th Assembly District Republican Central Committee representing the Santa Clarita Valley and is a public relations executive who represents Chiquita Canyon landfill.

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  • Jim de Bree

    Perhaps the author of this column should read the following articles:
    or this one

    When we moved to the SCV in 1996, I recall that the extension of the Chiquita Canyon landfill was a hotly contested local issue. It is my understanding that, in 1997, an agreement was reached to keep the facility open until a certain amount of trash had been dumped there.

    That limit was reached last July and I believe has been exceeded. The operator of the facility worked quietly behind the scenes to seek an expansion permit and to continue operating. Other stakeholders in the process were not aware of these efforts until the permits were a fais de complis.

    Apparently, the columnist has no problem with this. Instead of writing a hit piece against the opposition and painting the opposition as bad guys and the landfill operator as a victim, why can’t the columnist complete a more thorough analysis of the situation and paint a complete picture instead of dabbling a few swabs of paint on the corner of the canvas?

    Now let’s discuss the proposed water company merger.

    The author of the column asks, “I mean, why wouldn’t you want one agency working on a holistic approach to water in the SCV, all while saving ratepayers $14 million?”

    Let me answer that. I am a CPA with over 40 years of experience, but I have not found a comprehensive impartial discussion of this issue. Again, the columnist takes the side of the water agency.

    I reside in Valencia which is part of the legacy Newhall Land & Farming property. That property has historically enjoyed water rights that entitled it to cheaper water. My home enjoys those legacy rights. It is my understanding that the customers of Valencia Water Company enjoyed access to cheaper water than the price paid by residents of other sectors of the SCV.

    Some time ago, Newhall Land & Farming was acquired by Lennar, which in turn was acquired by a Wall Street based private equity firm. In the great recession, Newhall Land needed to monetize its assets in order to fund its ongoing costs associated with the development of Newhall Ranch. As part of this process, Valencia Water Company was sold to CLWA.

    The Signal wrote about this, see the following link: The article raises a number of questions which the columnist conveniently ignores.

    Valencia Water Company is no longer subject to oversight by the California Public Utilities Commission. Since then rates have increased dramatically because, among other things, there is no governmental oversight looking out for the consumer.

    CWLA funded its acquisition of Valencia Water Company with debt and is likely attempting to pass on the financing costs to the consumer. Even after the debt used to finance the purchase is retired, the higher rates charged to Valencia Water customers will likely be used to subsidize the purchase of water to be used by other regions of the SCV. If this is not the case, CWLA should prominently disclose this.

    In short the sale of Valencia Water Company to CWLA has apparently diminished the value of my water rights and has caused me to pay for the financing of a transaction that put money into the hands of the Wall Street interests who owned Newhall Land & Farming. So excuse me for being skeptical of the purported $14 million in savings from the proposed combination of proposed water companies.

    Both the landfill extension and the water company consolidation are extremely Clintonian. They may be legal, but the underlying ethics are certainly debatable at best.

    So when a member of the 38th Assembly District Republican Central Committee representing the Santa Clarita Valley writes, under the caption “Right Here, right Now,” a column like this, he cannot discuss the antics of Hillary Clinton without exposing some level of hypocrisy. It is also a shame that a Republican does not provide a more thorough analysis of the issues. California has been controlled by Democrats who need to be reined in by Republican thought leadership rather than partisan hacks like this.

    • Anthony Breznican

      Thank you, Jim de Bree. You stated it perfectly. We don’t want or need the beautiful Santa Clarita Valley to become home to an ever-expanding dump. NO to the Chiquita Canyon expansion. Time for them to move on. Go bury their trash in the vast, empty desert away from homes and businesses.

  • Hello Lynne,

    Which comment where you refereeing too? It appears that this was the only comment you have made to this article.

    The Signal

  • The John Musella column posted online did not include a notation that Musella works for Chiquita Canyon due to an editing error. The newspaper version of the column included that information, and it has been added to the online version.

  • Tanya Hauser

    Apparently AQMD is trying to hire a person within the Val Verde area to verify complaints because many complaints have been called in by residents over the years which have not been verified due to the fact that AQMD employees have not been able to come out soon enough. Isolated air testing and resident experience have not been consistent with each other.

  • Tanya Hauser

    The potential expansion of the landfill is not a left/right, liberal/conservative issue. Along with other noteworthy problems, it is a health issue.

    According to the Draft Environmental Impact Report, which I encourage you to read…

    Table 11-13 – Residential Maximally Exposed Individual (MEIR) “…the
    incremental increase in lifetime cancer risk associated with exposure to
    combined construction and operations emissions at the location of the
    MEIR is predicted to be 9.3 in 1 million.” The SCAQMD (South Coast Air
    Quality Management District) Significance Threshold is 10 in 1 million.
    The prediction of 9.3 is only .7 from being at the threshold of
    significance of 10 per the SCAQMD (pp. 11-37 and 11-38).

    Another issue concerning cancer is the cumulative impact of an expansion coupled with other projects:

    Cumulative Impacts — “The cumulative impact analysis considers the
    combined air quality impacts of the Proposed Project with the nearby
    reasonably foreseeable projects…” (p.11-46)

    Table 11-18 –
    Residential Maximally Exposed Individual (MEIR) and Sensitive Receptor
    are each 15 in a million. The SCAQMD Significance Threshold is 10 in 1
    million. “The proposed additional development in the area would not
    only increase the emissions of TACs (toxic air contaminant) generated in
    the area, but would also add new residential, commercial, and sensitive
    receptors…cumulative projects plus the Proposed Project (CCL
    expansion) would increase cancer risk by more than the 10 in 1 million
    threshold for residences, workers, and sensitive receptors near the
    landfill project site, indicating a significant cumulative impact.” (p.