Alatorre Softens Stance on Glendale's Access to Landfill

Times Staff Writers

A Los Angeles city councilman who threatened to cut off Glendale's access to its only landfill softened his stance this week by calling for cooperation among feuding governments.

Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alatorre said earlier this month that he would take steps to prohibit trash trucks from using a Los Angeles city roadway into the Scholl Canyon dump site in Glendale. The action was retaliation for Glendale's ban on the dumping of trash collected in Los Angeles at Scholl.

However, in a motion unanimously approved by the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday, Alatorre called for "cooperation between all affected parties," which he said is important "to resolve the current refuse-disposal problem in the Southern California region."

The motion still proposes that Los Angeles study ways to rescind Glendale's access to the dump, off Figueroa Street in Eagle Rock. Brad Sales, a spokesman for Alatorre, said retaining that language "gives us some leverage there. At least we got Glendale's attention."

But the motion does place greater emphasis on searching for alternatives. "In thinking it over," Sales said, "it is not a matter of tit for tat. That would not get anybody very far. We are looking for reasonable solutions to the problem."

A Glendale ordinance that went into effect Dec. 28 prohibits Los Angeles, Burbank and about 40 other communities from using Scholl Canyon.

Refuse Taken Elsewhere

Glendale officials said the restriction will extend the life of the landfill by 35 years or more.

Los Angeles refuse haulers previously dumped an estimated 811,000 tons of rubbish at Scholl, about 46% of all the trash deposited at the landfill, said George Miller, Glendale public works director. Since the ban, Los Angeles haulers have been forced to take refuse elsewhere, mostly to the privately operated Sunshine Canyon Landfill in Granada Hills.

Several Los Angeles officials said they were unhappy with Alatorre's apparent attempt to compromise.

Councilman Hal Bernson urged Alatorre to pursue blocking Glendale's access to Scholl.

"I really don't think you ought to soften your motion," Bernson told Alatorre on Tuesday. "I think that we ought to look at cutting off their access. They have no qualms about cutting off our access."

However, Councilwoman Joy Picus supported Alatorre's revised motion while criticizing Glendale. "Just because other cities choose to resemble petulant children doesn't mean that we need or should respond in kind," Picus said.

She also called for a spirit of cooperation among neighbors to resolve the trash-disposal crisis in Southern California. "We really have to show that we understand the situation is serious, that we have to work together, that it isn't just a Los Angeles problem," she said.

Alatorre's action calls for various Los Angeles city and county and state departments to report back to the council on various alternatives to trash disposal and the consequences of the limitations on dumping imposed at Scholl Canyon.

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