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Valley Perspective

Trashing Community Spirit

March 02, 1997

If, as now appears likely, Chiquita Canyon Landfill stays open, residents in the tiny community of Val Verde will live with the stink and dust that attends a garbage dump for the next 22 years. But for now, that's the least of their worries. The fight against the dump has splintered the village of 1,689 north of Magic Mountain into two camps: those who grudgingly accepted a compromise to keep the landfill open and those who vow to keep fighting.

Members of the Val Verde Civic Assn. said they were exhausted by an unwinnable fight and won the community as much as $280,000 each year from dump operator Laidlaw Waste Management Inc. to mitigate the landfill's effects. But members of the anti-landfill group LACH labeled the deal a disaster and now find themselves opposing the group that once mentored them.

The split threatens Val Verde's unique sense of community. The fight to stop the dump expansion galvanized residents as they faced a common enemy. Allowing that cooperative spirit to spoil would be the true loss here. As one person told the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors last week: "All is not well in the community of Val Verde."

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