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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Granada Hills

Vote on Audit of Dump Deal Delayed

March 30, 2000|PATRICK McGREEVY

A state legislative panel postponed a vote Wednesday on investigating the city's expansion of Sunshine Canyon Landfill after Los Angeles officials complained they had not been given a chance to defend the decision to lawmakers.

While saying he is committed to seeking the state audit, Assemblyman Scott Wildman (D-Los Angeles), who chairs the Joint Legislative Audit Committee, said he agreed to a request by city officials to allow them to answer any questions he might have about the expansion.

"I felt that if the city of Los Angeles has something it wants to say to me, that I should sit down with them and hear them out," Wildman said.

City officials said they can address Wildman's concerns about health issues and possible alternatives to the dump expansion.

Some backers of the landfill expansion said Wildman was also motivated to delay the matter until April 12 because he does not have the eight votes needed on the 14-member committee to order the audit.

Only eight committee members attended Wednesday's session, and one landfill supporter said only two of those present are firmly committed to the audit.

Mary Edwards of the North Valley Coalition said the group was disappointed at the last-minute postponement after it had sent two of its members to Sacramento to testify.

The City Council voted in December to permit Browning-Ferris Industries to expand the landfill into Granada Hills, drawing a lawsuit by neighbors claiming that the city failed to adequately consider the health impacts as well as alternatives.

The state audit proposed by Wildman would look at those issues.

Wildman said he will have the votes when the matter comes back up, but he criticized Browning-Ferris Industries for lobbying hard to kill the audit.

"BFI has put on a full-court lobbying press to defeat any investigation of this," Wildman said.

As a result, the legislator said he may seek to expand the audit to also look at the company's relationship with City Hall officials.

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