Editorial: Politics may have polluted landfill issue

It is not difficult to see the point of view of the Eagle Rock residents who showed up Wednesday at the base of the Scholl Canyon Landfill to protest Glendale's proposal to expand it. It is through their community that dump trucks travel to reach the landfill and they say they have worries that pollution will increase and a couple of their streets will be worn thin by the heavy trucks.

To be sure, the Eagle Rock residents who are up in arms over the Scholl Canyon issue are not alone; they are joined by others who are also worried any expansion there will increase pollution. But something other than garbage smells bad here. Have the protesters been unnecessarily worked up into a frenzy by people who are politically motivated? We believe that could be the case, particularly when it comes to Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents "The Rock" — along with downtown L.A. and other areas of the big city.

While the Scholl Canyon environmental impact report has been completed (and the concerned citizens, by the way, insisted and were given a generous extension on the public comment portion), there are no current plans in place to begin work on the expansion. Glendale city officials maintain it is a preparedness measure. They're working on their Zero Waste Policy, which would call for a variety of methods in order to keep 75% of waste from heading to the landfill by 2020. And, in terms of its expansion, they haven't yet decided which of a couple of options they would use.

Civic engagement is vital in our free society. We have no gripe with the good people of Eagle Rock who have concerns and are speaking their minds about the proposals. But our eyebrows were raised this week by the hue and cry raised by Huizar. In an act that to us smacked as nothing more than political grandstanding, the councilman whined during the protest that Eagle Rock has gotten a "raw deal," since Los Angeles in the late 1980s has been banned from using Scholl Canyon.

We suspect Huizar's involvement Wednesday in this organized and well-publicized protest was primarily to burnish his street credentials in a community where his presence is all too often missed.

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