The state Assembly's Ways and Means Committee on Wednesday postponed a vote on a controversial bill that would put a 1,700-inmate state prison in Castaic. Today, the Assembly's Public Safety Committee is to take up a second measure, already passed by the Senate, that would place the prison in downtown Los Angeles.
Two weeks ago, the Public Safety Committee approved a bill written by Assemblywoman Gloria Molina (D-Los Angeles) to build the prison on county-owned land at the Peter J. Pitchess Honor Rancho in Castaic, prompting strong protests from Santa Clarita Valley residents. The Molina bill was sent to the Ways and Means Committee.
The second measure, proposed by state Sen. Robert Presley (D-Riverside), designates the so-called Crown Coach site in Los Angeles as the prison's location.
Jim Scott, co-chairman of the Citizens for Fair Prison Sites, organized last fall to oppose attempts to put a state prison in the fast-growing Santa Clarita Valley, said members of the group made more than 100 telephone calls to lawmakers asking that the Molina bill be put on hold until both Assembly committees vote on the Los Angeles site.
Scott said he will appear at today's hearing to urge lawmakers to go ahead with plans to put the prison downtown.
Trustees of the Castaic School District last week sent resolutions to Sacramento opposing the Castaic site. Three schools are within two miles of the site, Supt. Reed Montgomery said.