Los Angeles officials are seeking to cut off the City of Glendale's access to its only landfill in retaliation for Glendale's ban on the dumping of trash collected in Los Angeles, The Times learned Wednesday.
Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alatorre and the city Department of Water and Power have initiated steps to prohibit trash trucks from using a Los Angeles city roadway into the Scholl Canyon dump site. The road is the only access to the landfill, officials said.
A spokesman for Alatorre said legislation will be introduced Friday before the Los Angeles City Council to block the use of Figueroa Street into the dump, located within Glendale's borders north of the Ventura Freeway.
Brad Sales, Alatorre's press secretary, said the action is "in response to the City of Glendale not allowing the City of Los Angeles to use the dump." He said Eagle Rock residents have long complained about refuse truck traffic in their neighborhood.
"It is unfair for that area to have to endure the traffic, noise and pollution of garbage trucks, if, as residents of the City of Los Angeles, they don't have the opportunity to have their trash dumped locally," Sales said.
In an effort to preserve the life of Scholl Canyon, the Glendale City Council in October adopted an ordinance prohibiting Los Angeles, Burbank and about 40 other communities from using the dump after Dec. 28. The action is expected to extend the life of the dump by more than 35 years, Glendale officials said.
Before adopting the ban, Glendale officials said they studied the issue of the access road and determined that the City of Los Angeles has no right to prohibit its use by trash haulers.
Los Angeles refuse haulers previously dumped an estimated 811,000 tons of rubbish at Scholl, accounting for 46% of all the trash deposited in Glendale, said George Miller, Glendale public works director.
Under the new rules, Los Angeles haulers are being forced to take their trash elsewhere, mostly to the Sunshine Canyon Landfill in Granada Hills.
Right to Use Road Rescinded
In a separate action from Alatorre's, the DWP also is seeking to prohibit trucks from using the dump roadway, which is owned by the utility department.
Ronald McCoy, assistant chief engineer of the Los Angeles water system, said a letter was sent Dec. 23 to county officials rescinding the right of the county sanitation district to use the DWP road.
The county district, which operates Scholl Canyon under a contract with Glendale, uses the road under a lease that can be canceled with six months' notice. The DWP road cuts through the center of property surrounding Los Angeles' Eagle Rock Reservoir.
McCoy said that since the DWP can no longer use Scholl to dump asphalt and other debris from DWP construction projects, the department plans to build a recycling center on the reservoir property where the material can be crushed and used to refill trenches. He said the department has no other alternative for dumping refuse other than hauling material to Granada Hills. He said the department plans to build the recycling center "as a practical matter to us."
McCoy said "that was a shock, really" when he learned last month from the county sanitation district that trash from the City of Los Angeles could no longer be dumped at Scholl.
However, he said the DWP is willing to negotiate with Glendale and county officials to resolve problems. He said, "We don't know what the impact of our action would be on the dump. But if they are willing to realign the access road to accommodate us, we would work with them."
Glendale Mayor Ginger Bremberg said she learned about the DWP action through a county worker but has not seen the letter that cancels use of the roadway. "I don't know what game they are playing, but their action is very inappropriate," Bremberg said.
She said Glendale officials scrutinized the potential for retaliatory action prior to adopting the ban on trash from Los Angeles. "We investigated the road issue before. It is in public use, in the public domain, and we have prescriptive rights to it."
Glendale City Atty. Frank Manzano said state laws prohibit restrictions on public roadways.
However, he said that if the DWP attempts to impede use of the access route, Glendale could institute action to acquire the road through eminent domain. "We could condemn the property," Manzano said. "We have a need for more public use than they do."