About 200 homeowners, schoolchildren and politicians met at a scenic spot off Mulholland Drive on Tuesday to condemn a county report naming three Santa Monica Mountains canyons as potential landfill sites.
With placards declaring "It Stinks" and other angry slogans, the landfill opponents cheered on elected officials who threatened legal and legislative action if the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts dump garbage in Mission, Rustic and Sullivan canyons.
"I am absolutely appalled that anybody would think we need anything like a dump site here," state Sen. Herschel Rosenthal (D-Los Angeles) told the gathering near the Bel-Air Skycrest subdivision. "I am going to do everything I possibly can to prevent this from happening."
Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson (D-Los Angeles), through a spokeswoman, called on sanitation officials to cross the canyons off their landfill list and said their use would violate a federal law protecting land in national parks from being used for garbage dumps.
Although the Sanitation Districts own Rustic and Sullivan canyons and Los Angeles County owns Mission Canyon, all three lie within the boundaries of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which just received $12 million in federal funds for land acquisition.
The Sanitation Districts have pledged that the three Westside canyons would be exempt from landfill development if the Santa Clarita Valley's Elsmere Canyon becomes a regional garbage dump. But protesters Tuesday said they were alarmed that a recent study still lists Mission, Rustic and Sullivan canyons as possible landfill sites.
The three canyons are all just south of Mulholland Drive and west of the San Diego Freeway, in the hills above Brentwood.
Joseph T. Edmiston, executive director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, accused the Sanitation Districts of "trying to splinter the forces against landfills" by making the Westside canyons' exemption contingent upon the development of a landfill in Elsmere Canyon.
Towsley Canyon, also in the Santa Clarita Valley, and Blind Canyon, in the Santa Susana Mountains above Chatsworth, are also named as possible landfill sites in the study.
The controversial study, a draft environmental impact report on a countywide trash-management plan, has been the subject of continuing public hearings since its release Aug. 31.
Grace Chan, the Sanitation Districts planner who supervised the study, said public comments will be accepted until Dec. 3, after which the report will be completed and submitted to the Sanitation Districts' Board of Directors for final approval. The deadline for public response had been today, the reason for Tuesday's rally. Chan said the report also addresses recycling trash and hauling it to remote areas by train.
Assemblyman Terry B. Friedman (D-Los Angeles), City Councilman Marvin Braude and David Gackenbach, superintendent of the national recreation area, were among the officials present.
About 22 fifth-graders from the private Westland School, adjacent to Mission Canyon, attended to call attention to the potential health hazards of a landfill.