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SCVtv Op-Ed: Freudian Slip?

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Freudian Slip?

Commentary by Steve Lee
| THURSDAY, AUG 25, 2016

steveleeOn Monday, the tired town of Val Verde once again drove out to the Embassy Suites Hotel to express its concerns about the noncompliance of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill. As you may know, the landfill was given a “clean hands” waiver which basically said it had to stay open because it was too dangerous to close.

The waiver that was supposedly signed in March was not produced for public view until August. Landfill reps did not mention the waiver in June, when they had informed Val Verde residents that they had no plans to close and the county had no plans to close them, or the county would have instructed them to close.

The landfill would be right. It never submitted closing papers or even started the process in good faith. It would appear to those in Val Verde that the county and the landfill had been working together to make sure the landfill expands.

The game of having meetings to make sure the community is involved and is allowed to have input, and maybe even stop the expansion, is just that. It is a game where the landfill and the county can sit behind closed doors and laugh. Laugh at how constituents actually think they have a say in their own health, or their own right to live in a house that is free of stench.

At this meeting, the big concern was that the landfill ignored the contract with Val Verde. The landfill denied that it was supposed to close at 23 million tons, because it also had an end date of 2019. The clause in the contract, “whichever comes first,” did not matter. The landfill believes it actually meant whichever came last.

The debate got heated with the audience upset and with the landfill just as upset.

Then it happened – the Freudian slip.

A representative of Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said: “The goal of the county is to get the approval of the CUP” (conditional use permit).

There it was. The goal of the county is to get the expansion approved.

Of course it is the goal. The county gets paid for each ton of trash the landfill takes in.

When asked if it was a done deal, the reply was: “I don’t know. It will come down to the five county supervisors.”

The same supervisors who have been sent donations for political races from this exact landfill will decide if they turn their back on the donations and represent the constituents.

I hate to say it, but as the Antonovich representative said, the CUP for more trash is the goal.

When the system is designed such that the people getting paid are responsible for policing the people who are breaking the rules, the system will fail.

 

Steve Lee is an asthmatic resident of Val Verde.

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