DUMP'S NEW IMAGE LANDFILL OPERATOR CLEANS UP NAME WITH LOCAL OUTREACH.
Byline: Kerry Cavanaugh Staff Writer
SUN VALLEY - After decades of brushing off complaints about odors Odors
Medicine. the absence of the sense of smell; olfactory anesthesia. Also called anosphrasia. — anosmic, adj.
bad breath; an unpleasant odor emanating from the mouth. , dust and rumbling trash trucks, the operators of Bradley Landfill have started taking a kinder, gentler approach in trying to win support from their neighbors for expanding the dump.
In the past year, Waste Management Inc., the nation's largest trash company, has sought grant money for a new median to prevent street racing, offered a class for community members studying to take the U.S. citizenship test, initiated a recycling program at a local school and chipped in on four decorative gateways at the entrance to Sun Valley.
Landfill managers have also spearheaded a Sun Valley beautification beau·ti·fy
tr. & intr.v. beau·ti·fied, beau·ti·fy·ing, beau·ti·fies
To make or become beautiful.
beau effort, spent thousands of dollars on neighborhood cleanups and appointed a full-time employee to lead community improvement projects.
``We understand we have to be a good neighbor if we want to keep operating in Sun Valley,'' said Kit Cole, who was hired by Waste Management to manage community relations 1. The relationship between military and civilian communities.
2. Those public affairs programs that address issues of interest to the general public, business, academia, veterans, Service organizations, military-related associations, and other non-news media entities. at the landfill. ``It's no longer optional. It's mandatory.''
So far, the landfill has won some friends in Sun Valley and caught the attention of area politicians.
But there's no telling - yet - whether Waste Management's efforts will persuade the Los Angeles City Council The Los Angeles City Council is the governing body of the City of Los Angeles, California, United States. to allow the dump to raise its height by 43 feet or build a permanent trash-transfer station on site if the city starts hauling to remote dumps.
Longtime opponents of the landfill said Waste Management is simply ``green-washing'' their operations - adopting environmentally friendly Environmentally friendly, also referred to as nature friendly, is a term used to refer to goods and services considered to inflict minimal harm on the environment. slogans and easy projects without making changes at the dump that would truly improve Sun Valley's environment.
``They can put in all the trees they want. It doesn't make the methane go away. It doesn't make vinyl chloride vinyl chloride
Colourless, flammable, toxic gas (H2C=CHCl), belonging to the family of organic compounds of halogens. It is produced in very large quantities and used principally to make PVC, as well as in other syntheses and in and dust and air pollution go away,'' said Ellen Mackey with the East Valley Coalition. ``It's all P.R. It's all spin. It's all green-washing.''
Over the past 50 years, Bradley Landfill has slowly grown into a dirt mountain that towers over Sun Valley, a largely low-income, immigrant community with homes alongside heavy industry.
In the past, Waste Management's outreach efforts were limited to the Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club, with a few checks written to the local nonprofit groups.
Bradley managers paid little heed to residents' complaints about dust and odors from the unsightly brown mountain. The landfill racked up citations for high levels of explosive landfill gas.
Long-simmering community frustration with the giant landfill boiled over in 2003, when hundreds of furious residents packed the Sun Valley Middle School Sun Valley Middle School is located in Sun Valley, a section of Los Angeles, California, and is part of Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). In April 1948, school officials announced that "the most charming of all the new junior high schools" in the Los Angeles system would auditorium to denounce the dump and fight what was supposed to be a bureaucratic bu·reau·crat
1. An official of a bureaucracy.
2. An official who is rigidly devoted to the details of administrative procedure.
bu slam-dunk permit change for Bradley.
Change of opinion
The permit process dragged on for six months before approval. And it prompted a new organized opposition effort that lined up politicians, including Mayor James Hahn For the Iowa politician, see .
James Kenneth "Jim" Hahn (born July 3, 1950) is an American politician from the Democratic Party. He was the Deputy City Attorney (1975-1979), City Controller (1981-1985), City Attorney (1985-2001) and Mayor of Los Angeles, California and most of the City Council members from the northeast San Fernando Valley San Fernando Valley
Valley, southern California, U.S. Northwest of central Los Angeles, the valley is bounded by the San Gabriel, Santa Susana, and Santa Monica mountains and the Simi Hills. , to denounce the dump.
The meeting was a ``real eye-opener,'' said Waste Management's district manager, Doug Corcoran.
``I came away from that meeting with a very different opinion on public opinion, and we've been working really hard since then.''
Now Waste Management has a bigger proposal on the horizon. It wants to expand the dump, raising the height by 43 feet, the equivalent of a four-story building. It also wants to build a permanent transfer station, where 7,000 tons of trash a day would be dropped and reloaded onto long-haul trucks.
The company says it needs the expansion to keep 200 landfill employees working while the transfer station is built.
Bradley Landfill managers realized public opinion could not only kill their proposals, but ultimately drive the company out of Sun Valley and loosen its grip on the lucrative Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. trash market.
To win the support of the community it long ignored, Waste Management hired Cole to help reshape the landfill's image and business ethic, and began redirecting more corporate donations toward local groups.
At the landfill, Bradley managers hired a meteorologist and a team of odor experts to minimize the smell of rotting trash. They've also brought in more natural gas-fueled trash trucks and tried to reach out to community opposition through the landfill's community advisory committee.
To sweeten sweet·en
v. sweet·ened, sweet·en·ing, sweet·ens
1. To make sweet or sweeter by adding sugar, honey, saccharin, or another sweet substance.
2. To make more pleasant or agreeable. the expansion proposal, Waste Management offered $4 million to the community - or $2 per ton of trash received at the dump until it closes.
Outside the landfill gates, Waste Management has begun applying for grants to install decorative gateways into Sun Valley and applied for funds on behalf of the police to get a median built on a stretch of Glenoaks Boulevard popular with street racers.
The company gave a half-dozen community groups $1,000 apiece, plus equipment, hats and T-shirts for beautification projects. Teens have chopped ugly, dead oleanders cut from along the Metrolink tracks and tossed them into Waste Management's green waste bins. Other groups installed a native plant garden at a local elementary school elementary school: see school. and painted a mural promoting recycling at another school.
``It's about more than money,'' Cole said. ``We're happy to give to groups in the community financially, but the real meaningful work is what we initiate on our own in the Sun Valley community.''
``There's a big difference between writing a check and digging a hole and planting a tree. We need to do both.''
Key decision makers have noted Waste Management's efforts, including Councilman Tony Cardenas Tony Cardenas served in the California State Assembly. In the Assembly, he had the powerful position of chair of the Budget Committee. He is now a Los Angeles City Councilman, representing the 6th district, which includes parts of the San Fernando Valley. , who represents Sun Valley and will be the key vote on whether the landfill expansion is approved. He's still skeptical.
``I've seen positive efforts by Waste Management, but it is nowhere near the level of support the community needs.''
The campaign has changed some minds, including that of Sun Valley Neighborhood Council President Dennis O'Sullivan.
``Ten years ago I had no use for Waste Management at all,'' he said. ``The people managing Waste Management were not community-related.''
However, he's been impressed by the company's turnaround and efforts to improve Sun Valley.
A manager at a local homeless and drug-abuse-rehabilitation center by day, O'Sullivan also sits on the Bradley Landfill Community Advisory Committee, which is looking at the dump's operations and expansion plans.
``Nobody has come to the plate as environmentally and community-wise as Waste Management. I've been surprised.''
But other community activists feel that Waste Management, with more than $11 billion in revenue last year, can afford to make more substantial improvements in Sun Valley and at the landfill.
``Their intentions appear good, but it's a real pittance pit·tance
1. A meager monetary allowance, wage, or remuneration.
2. A very small amount: not a pittance of remorse. ,'' said Maria Sesma Sooy, an outreach consultant at Fernangeles Elementary School, about a mile from the landfill. ``I don't see any substantive change in appearance, smell. And there's certainly no change in the height of the landfill.''
Kerry Cavanaugh, (818) 713-3746
(color) Victor Morales Victor Morales is the name of:
Any of the ornamental evergreen shrubs of the genus Nerium (dogbane family), which have poisonous milky juice. Numerous varieties of flower colour in the common oleander, or rosebay (N. to a trash bin during a Waste Management-sponsored community cleanup.