‘This is not the end’: City officials react to Camp Scott decision

Sign on Bouquet Canyon Road for Camp Scudder and Camp Scott. 062421. Dan Watson/The Signal

In the wake of the vote to approve Camp Scott in Saugus as the future permanent housing site for the county’s most violent male youth offenders, members of the Santa Clarita City Council said Tuesday they will continue to oppose reopening the Bouquet Canyon Road camp for this specific population. 

For the last year, the Santa Clarita City Council has joined a number of local residents in opposing a plan to reopen Camp Scott — which has been closed since 2020 and was originally built to house low-level offenders — citing safety concerns for both the juvenile offenders and members of the surrounding community.   

But despite Camp Scott receiving the worst possible score by assessors in terms of  fire/flood safety, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved during their latest regular meeting a recommendation from the Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council’s Juvenile Justice Realignment Block Grant Ad-Hoc Subcommittee to select Camp Scott and Campus Kilpatrick in Malibu.  

But despite a vote in favor of reopening the camp, Mayor Laurene Weste said that she and her fellow council members had not given up their opposition to reopening Camp Scott for the DJJ male population.   

“Today’s approval does a grave disservice to the DJJ population, putting them in extreme peril due to Camp Scott being in an extreme fire and flood hazard area,” Weste said in a statement sent out late Tuesday afternoon. “It would be extremely difficult to evacuate inmates in the quick time frame necessary in an emergency situation. As required by law, you would need prison buses that allow for the separation of inmates by category for their own safety, which would add significant time to the evacuation process.  

Weste said the city would “stand by the fact” that a review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) — a law that ensures that governments take seriously their obligation to consider potential environmental impacts, especially those that may affect the public health and welfare — still needed to be completed.  

“We stand by the fact that CEQA review is absolutely necessary and mark my words, we will hold the line, whatever it takes,” Weste said. “In addition, we have prepared to do a full forensic analysis of the entire process, which has been flawed from the beginning. This is not the end.”  

During the public comment section of the supervisors’ meeting held before the 4-1 vote was solidified (5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the SCV, was the only dissenting vote), Santa Clarita Councilwoman Marsha McLean, called Camp Scott dilapidated and unsafe, lashed out at commenters accusing Santa Clarita of calling for Not-in-my-backyard, or NIMBY. 

“This business about us being NIMBY is shameful and uncalled for.  Please Don’t let that buzzword color your decision on what is best for rehabilitating our young people and keeping them safe.” 

“If you truly care about what is best for the young people and their families, you will opt for the fastest, safest and most cost-effective solution- that solution is re-imagining Barry J. Nidorf which reflects the goals and intents of the county in investing in true reformative rehab programming and treatment.” 

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