Reconsideration of Landfill Lease Urged

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Ventura County Supervisor John K. Flynn is urging his fellow board members to reconsider their decision to extend the lease of Bailard Landfill, saying his environmental concerns about the Oxnard dump have not been adequately addressed.

Flynn, who will ask his colleagues Tuesday to set up another hearing on the extension, contends the board cut short a March 1 public review before voting 4 to 1 to keep the landfill open another three years.

"I am convinced that a fair and open public hearing was not provided," said Flynn, who cast the only vote against the dump's continued use. "I was neither given the time to identify all the significant issues nor offer a resolution to the problems. I had to hurry my presentation."

So far, however, Flynn's request for another hearing has received an icy response from his colleagues.

"I don't see any reason to put people through this again," Supervisor Susan K. Lacey said.

Added Supervisor Maria VanderKolk: "He is just trying to beat a dead horse."

Flynn could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But his senior administrative aide, Rosann Gallien, said Flynn is concerned that the continued use of the dump--situated above the Oxnard aquifer--could contaminate the city's water supply.

"It's been bothering him and he has been talking about it a lot," Gallien said. "He decided he wanted to go back over this and address the water quality issue."

But VanderKolk said the county has conducted extensive studies to make sure the dump will not contaminate the water supply.

"It absolutely has been addressed," she said. "There has been a lot of testing done and everything has shown it to be safe. John just doesn't believe the reports."

Clint Whitney, general manager of the Regional Sanitation District, which operates the dump, said Flynn is only grandstanding.

"He doesn't have any issues of substance to put forth to get a reconsideration," Whitney said. "He is simply attacking his colleagues."

Flynn's discontent over the dump is nothing new. For years Flynn has been fighting to close the facility, which is in his district, claiming there are environmental problems.

County officials have also accused him of inciting a group of nuns who live near the landfill into criticizing the extension because of health concerns.

At the March 1 hearing, nearly two dozen nuns of the Sister Servants of Mary argued that the noise, odor and dust from the facility were making them ill.

The supervisors requested that officials from the Regional Sanitation District meet with the nuns to address their concerns by April 15.

"The only thing I can tell you is that we've tried to negotiate," said Mother Mary Purificacion, adding that so far talks have been unsuccessful.

She said Flynn told the sisters at the convent that he planned to ask his colleagues to reopen the issue. But the nuns will consult their attorney before deciding to speak out on Flynn's request at Tuesday's meeting.

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