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Author’s note: I presented the following statement to the Santa Clarita City Council Tuesday and, in light of the April 19 hearing on the Chiquita Canyon Landfill, I believe it is a timely subject.

In the very early nineties the city of Santa Clarita was threatened with the possibility of a landfill being established in Towsley Canyon, just south of the city limits. Great effort was put forth to stop this plan from becoming a reality.

Under the auspices of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and with great support from the Santa Clarita City Council, programs were put in place to fully utilize the canyon area, thus making it a poor candidate for coverage with refuse.

I was among the many citizens who went through extensive docent training in climate, geology, astronomy, ecosystem, fire ecology, plants, mammals, insects, birds, reptiles, human history, safety, interpretive techniques, and first aid – all with the grand purpose of thwarting the creation of a landfill through the utilization of Towsley Canyon for recreational and educational purposes.

There was great opposition to having a landfill so close to our city. Even Councilwoman Marsha McLean, I recall, was a diligent activist in this effort.

I must say that I am dumbfounded to see absolutely no effort being put forth by our City Council to support the contractually required, morally prudent, and ethically judicious closure of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill at this time.

The citizens of our fair city entrust our council members with the responsibility of acting in the best interest of the electorate. Many in our community have not ever been aware of the problems associated with the landfill, nor have they had the slightest idea that there are those who would want to further extend its life – and double the number of trucks on our already crowded Interstate 5 and Highway 126.

Upon learning of this plan, plus the problems of those living near the landfill, plus the fact that 90 percent of the trash comes from elsewhere, some from as far away as just north of Tijuana, Mexico, and considering the addition of more greenhouse gases and lung damaging and asthma-causing particulates into the very air that we breathe, they are appalled and absolutely not in favor.

And even more appalled when they learn that there is an alternative available destination for all of this trash – that is Mesquite Regional Landfill in Imperial County, which is reachable by rail.

I sincerely urge every council member to take this message to heart and realize that we must not allow the county of Los Angeles, who is receiving approximately $700,000 each month in tipping fees, to be arbiter in the decision to close or not to close this landfill.

You have a definite influence on this important final decision. Please be true representatives of those who elected you. Take a stand against expanding the Chiquita Canyon Landfill.


See Citizens for Chiquita Canyon Landfill Compliance website at

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  • Ariel Penn

    Excellent op ed, piece! The affect of this expansion on the health and welfare of our community (and children) can’t be understated. Those in support are from non-profits who have been paid to be supportive by the landfill company.

    Confused by the headline on this article though. The writer is clearly opposed to the landfill expansion, not for it like the headline states. Ariel Penn, Co-chair Indivisible Santa Clarita

  • Tanya Hauser

    Thank you, Sally, and thanks for speaking at the City Council meeting.

  • Erica Larsen-Dockray

    Thank you Sally!! Great article!

  • Dr. Faye

    The landfill was very strategic, diabolically strategic, and they smoozed the city council and the big hitters in Santa Clarita, especially Henry Mayo, the Signal and the Better Business Bureau. They literally bribed the Castaic Town Council to support the landfill and go against the other residents of Castaic in Val Verde. By all appearances at past meetings they played Mr. Nice Guy by handing out dollars to non profits if they promised to defend the landfill, all for the purpose of insuring votes and testimonials. They even unilaterally determined that a land owner in Val Verde didn’t have land in Val Verde by gerrymandering him out, because he didn’t contribute to the landfill. Where they got that power of authority I don’t know. Money is law, evidently. I fear the Santa Clarita’s City Council has been financially influenced not to go against the landfill. For every dollar handed out, there is a consequence for betraying their benefactor. It would be very unpopular in Santa Clarita at this point for the big hitters to break ranks. There are evidently no heroes on the Santa Clarita City Council, but then, it doesn’t take heroism to get elected. We have no representation, not in Santa Clarita nor with the County of Los Angeles, nor with the Castaic Town Council. But, we have some humble authors like you, Sally. Thank you.

  • Ron Bischof

    “Please be true representatives of those who elected you. Take a stand against expanding the Chiquita Canyon Landfill.”

    Respectfully, you do not represent me and how I voted wasn’t predicated on the Chiquita Canyon Landfill, Ms. White.

    • Erica Larsen-Dockray

      Ron Bischof. Actually your vote IS predicated on your elected officials to have your best interest in mind. Expanding this landfill does not have our best interests in mind and she gave lots of reasons why.

      • Ron Bischof

        You’re assuming my opinion as well, Ms. Larsen-Dockray. Only I can determine what my best interests are and retain the sole right to communicate them.

        I don’t place my trust in politicians because doing so isn’t rational.