Anti-Dump Crusader Joins Santa Clarita Council Race


Marsha McLean, the business owner credited with leading a successful effort to keep Elsmere Canyon from becoming the nation’s largest dump, announced Monday she will run for Santa Clarita City Council.

McLean is one of two announced candidates in the April election, when voters will fill three empty seats on the five-member council. The other candidate is Cameron Smyth, son of Mayor Clyde Smyth, who has said he does not plan to seek reelection. The official filing period runs from Dec. 22 to Jan. 16.

McLean, 57, made her announcement at the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station, listing public safety, traffic congestion and youth activities as her top issues. “I have the qualifications, the commitment and the knowledge to serve this city,” she said.

McLean also noted her involvement with the Elsmere conflict, which formally began in 1989 when she formed the Santa Clarita Valley Canyons Preservation Committee. During a seven-year battle with BKK Corp., a Torrance-based trash firm that sought a deal with the U.S. Forest Service for a 190-million-ton dump just outside town, she made allies and enemies at the local, state and federal levels of government.

BKK maintains that a legislative move by U.S. Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) killed the dump plan, not efforts by McLean. But the city, which spent $1.5 million to fight the dump plan after initially taking a neutral stance, honored her along with McKeon and U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who formed an unlikely anti-dump alliance.


McLean stressed that her Elsmere experience did not mean she would run on just an environmental platform. In the course of fighting the landfill, she said she acquired experience with many aspects of government.

“You couldn’t just say you didn’t want a dump there,” she said. “You needed to go in and learn about it . . . I did that. I know about the process.”

It will be McLean’s first try for public office, though she has held top positions with a variety of civic organizations and charity groups.