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Find Alternatives to More Landfills

September 03, 1995

* I would like to respond to former Councilman Ernani Bernardi's letter, "Petition Assemblyman to Close Lopez Canyon" (July 23).

Mr. Bernardi seems to be missing the point altogether about Lopez Canyon. I applaud him for coming to the defense of the Lopez Canyon neighbors--they have indeed suffered enough. But the issue isn't whether or not it should remain open; the issue is about the archaic idea that dumps belong in neighborhoods "closer to home." Mr. Bernardi suggests reopening Mission Canyon and gutting Rustic and Sullivan canyons. As for Sunshine Canyon, it has already been gutted with the blessing of the Board of Supervisors, but remains closed by the grace of God, some very concerned neighbors, Councilman Hal Bernson, the City Council and the far-sighted Board of Zoning Appeals. Unknown to many, Sunshine Canyon is not in the "affluent" area of Granada Hills, but rather in the less affluent area of Sylmar, in the northeast San Fernando Valley where residents have the privilege of claiming at least 49 past and present landfills, including Lopez Canyon.

When dumps impact water, air and soil, the impact does not remain within a certain jurisdiction. Air and water know no boundaries; they travel where they will. That is why Bernardi's solution to the problem of Lopez Canyon is myopic. The impact from today's dumps will not remain in the Santa Monica range, nor in Lake View Terrace, nor in Granada Hills or Sylmar; the impact will be felt everywhere. The solution is to find alternatives, not other dumps and certainly not other dumps in other neighborhoods, rich or poor.

If there is an equation for finding a suitable place for a dump, it does not include the most fundamental proportion: the human factor. A dump in a residential area is unacceptable.

ESTHER SIMMONS

Granada Hills

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