Controversial Vote to Expand Sunshine Landfill on Schedule : Supervisors: Board has a change of heart on delaying action. Opponents blame lobbying by the dump's operator.


The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors refused Tuesday to delay a vote scheduled for today on the controversial proposal to expand the Sunshine Canyon landfill.

The county's Regional Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on Browning-Ferris Industries' proposal to expand its 230-acre dump near Granada Hills into 542 acres of unincorporated county land.

The board's inaction Tuesday was a dramatic reversal from last week, when a board majority indicated sympathy with dump opponents asking for the delay. On Tuesday, however, neither Ed Edelman nor Kenneth Hahn would even second a motion by Mike Antonovich to delay the vote.

The board's inaction Tuesday angered dump opponents who wanted more time to respond to new information that Browning-Ferris included in an environmental impact report on the project. The Planning Commission appeared to be on the verge of approving the project in February when a county attorney warned that the environmental impact report was incomplete.

Dump opponents accused Edelman and Hahn, the board's two liberals, of caving in under lobbying by Browning-Ferris Industries.

Antonovich also blamed lobbying by BFI and pressure from the city of Los Angeles, which favors the dump expansion, for changing his colleagues' minds.

"Obviously, Ed Edelman and Kenny Hahn ignored the people's request to have further input," Antonovich said. "I feel Edelman and Hahn's shortsightedness is a slap in the face" to the homeowner groups opposed to the project.

Chris Funk, an attorney for Browning-Ferris, said James E. Hartl, the county's chief planner, and Browning-Ferris explained to the supervisors during the past week why their initial vote was misguided.

"Last week those two people voted without realizing what the process was," Funk said.

But the politicians and their staff said they changed their minds for other reasons.

Edelman said he switched sides after learning from the county's top planning official that the 30-day delay could set the proposed project back several months. He added that there would be ample time for the landfill's detractors, who previously testified against the project before the Planning Commission, to testify again when the project comes before the Board of Supervisors for final approval.

"The community already has had a public hearing, and we'll have a public hearing," Edelman said. "No sense setting it back."

Mas Fukai, Hahn's chief deputy, said that discussion with Browning-Ferris representatives did not influence his boss.

"They will never strong-arm Kenny Hahn," Fukai said.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World