SACRAMENTO — A bill that would prohibit trash landfills in the Santa Monica Mountains and in a large area of the San Fernando Valley failed a key committee vote on Tuesday in the face of resistance from San Gabriel Valley legislators and others.
The 11-7 vote fell one short of the required majority on the 23-member Assembly Ways and Means Committee.
The action came despite last-minute amendments that sought to strike a balance between popular support for protecting scenic mountains and concerns over where to dump the 45,000 tons of refuse generated every day in Los Angeles County.
Assemblyman Terry B. Friedman (D-Tarzana), the author of the bill who lobbied desperately for one more favorable vote, said he would bring the measure back for another try next week.
"We'll keep working, but obviously the outcome today wasn't the step forward that we needed," the freshman lawmaker said.
Friedman said resistance to his proposals stiffened at the beginning of the week after six members of the San Gabriel Valley delegation urged the committee to reject the measure.
In a letter prepared by Assemblywoman Sally Tanner (D-El Monte), the group said garbage now trucked to the mountains would have to be diverted to San Gabriel Valley landfills and eventually to more remote areas if the mountains were closed to landfills.
The western part of Los Angeles County is a heavy exporter of trash to the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys, Tanner wrote, and passage of Friedman's bill "would severely limit any county efforts to spread the wealth more equitably"--a goal that Tanner is pushing in other pending legislation.
Assemblyman Charles M. Calderon (D-Alhambra), who did not sign the Tanner letter, said he reluctantly voted for the bill only after Friedman accepted amendments that would permit continued use of landfills in the Santa Monica Mountains if no "reasonable new alternatives" could be found.
"We're trying to find a compromise between aesthetics and practicality," Calderon said. "It's very difficult, considering the mountains of trash that we have to deal with and the issue of a fair-share distribution."
Among the "reasonable alternatives," Friedman said, is the Santa Clarita Valley, which is north of the San Fernando Valley.
That location was suggested last month by Los Angeles Councilmen Marvin Braude and Hal Bernson, who said the city's garbage could be dumped there for the next 50 years, thus removing pressure to continue trucking it to Mission Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains and Sunshine Canyon in the San Fernando Valley.
Inland concerns about garbage disposal also were reflected by Assemblyman Bill Leonard (R-Redlands), who supported Friedman's bill in earlier hearings but came out against it in Tuesday's vote.
In March, Friedman introduced a bill that would ban landfills in 155,000 acres of the mountains, including Mission, Rustic and Sullivan canyons, and in 140,000 acres in the Rim of the Valley Corridor. The rim, which encircles the San Fernando Valley, includes two of the city's largest landfills in Sunshine and Lopez canyons.
Under the bill, those landfills would be forced to close by 1990, effectively killing plans for a controversial 1,000-acre expansion of the Sunshine landfill.