Opponents of a proposed landfill in Elsmere Canyon believe they have the key to preventing it.
A car key.
The Santa Clarita Valley Canyons Preservation Committee has persuaded eight Valencia automobile dealerships to donate their profits from the sale of 21 vehicles sold today through June 30 to anti-dump efforts.
If the 1993 cars, trucks and minivans are sold, everything above the factory invoice will go to the committee. Dump opponents hope to receive $500 to $1,000 per vehicle.
"It would be nice to get $21,000. I think if we made anything between $10,000 and $15,000 it would be a great event," said Lee Schramling, a committee volunteer.
Chris Connelly, who is heading the committee's fund-raising efforts in exchange for a 15% commission, first suggested having a car auctioned as a fund-raiser but later decided to pursue an event that would last beyond a single day.
The committee will receive funds only from the sale of the 21 specific vehicles.
Despite the environmental topic of the dump issue, organizers did not specify what types of cars they wanted sold in the fund-raiser. As a result, consumers can buy non-economy cars such as a Chevrolet Camaro, Nissan 240SX convertible or Volkswagen Eurovan GL and still say they're helping the local environment.
"We wanted cars that are going to sell, that normally sell," Schramling said.
Two Valencia dealerships declined to participate, saying the issue was political, while others that are taking part say their involvement does not mean they oppose the landfill.
"This is something here the community is fighting against," said Dave Farguson, general manager of BMW Valencia. "We're not really taking a stand other than supporting their passions and some of the argument against it."
Elsmere Canyon is southeast of the intersection of San Fernando Road and the Antelope Valley Freeway. Opponents, which include the adjacent city of Santa Clarita, say the dump will harm local air quality, ruin a pristine canyon and wildlife corridor and cause thousands of garbage trucks to travel through the valley.
This is not the first time dump opponents have contacted a large company's local outlet for assistance. In late February, the group persuaded the owner of three Santa Clarita Domino's Pizza franchises to distribute anti-dump flyers with each of their 4,000 pizzas sold weekly.
The Santa Clarita Valley Canyons Preservation Committee hopes to ultimately raise $100,000 to fight the dump.