Bernson, Finn Lose Fight to Keep Out Added Trash Runs

Times Staff Writer

Two Los Angeles City Council members failed Wednesday to keep the city from sending another 160 truckloads of trash a day into their north San Fernando Valley districts.

Councilmen Hal Bernson and Howard Finn lost a procedural move to keep alive the option of expanding the Toyon Canyon Landfill in Griffith Park, now expected to reach capacity by Nov. 1.

Once that dump fills up, the city plans to start taking 1,600 tons of its total 5,500 tons a day of household refuse to the Sunshine Canyon Landfill above Granada Hills and to the Lopez Canyon Landfill above Lake View Terrace. The Sunshine Canyon dump is in Bernson's district and the Lopez Canyon landfill is in Finn's district.

Resisted Dumping Efforts

Council members have traditionally resisted efforts to allow dumping of garbage in their districts because of political pressure from constituents unhappy with the noise, odors and traffic created by disposal operations.

The council in May, 1984, dropped plans to expand Toyon Canyon in response to objections from environmentalists.

But the environmental impact report for the ill-fated proposal did not reach the council until Wednesday. Normally, the council would "receive and file" the report, in effect sending it to the city archives to gather dust.

Instead, Bernson moved to put off consideration of the matter, which would leave open the possibility of using the Toyon Canyon Landfill.

However, with eight votes required for approval, his motion failed, 7 to 6.

Wednesday's debate pitted council members' self-interests against each other.

Wachs Opposed Move

Councilman Joel Wachs, in whose district Toyon Canyon is situated, led the effort to defeat the Bernson-Finn move.

Bernson, meanwhile, argued that the council should reconsider reopening Mission Canyon Landfill in the Sepulveda Pass, in Councilman Marvin Braude's district.

"I supported you Mr. Braude," Bernson said to his colleague, referring to the council's refusal in 1977 and 1981 to reopen Mission Canyon. "But I didn't do it to have everything dumped in my backyard."

Finn, whose northeast Valley district receives 80% of the city's garbage, said it is unfair for the council to expect his constituents to accept any more.

'Trash War'

Councilman Ernani Bernardi, who represents the mid-Valley area, similarly told the council, "You can't continue to look at the San Fernando Valley as the dump site for the City of Los Angeles."

The city's trash crisis has been exacerbated by the continuing "trash war" between the city and the county, according to Del Biagi, the city's sanitation director.

The city wants to burn most of its trash to produce electricity in a plant that it hopes to build by mid-1989 near downtown Los Angeles. But the county Board of Supervisors, which has to vote on a solid-waste plan that includes the plant, has refused to support the project until the city agrees to put Mission, Rustic and Sullivan canyons--all on the Westside--on a list of sites for consideration as future landfills.

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