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EDITORIAL SUN VALLEY'S STRUGGLE LOCAL COMMUNITY LEADERS DESERVE TO CONTROL TRASH TRUST FUND.

IN their struggle to gain control over community-improvement funds, Sun Valley leaders are fighting for more than just some $200,000 a year. They're fighting for healthier neighborhoods, local control and some long-overdue respect from Los Angeles City Hall.

After decades of seeing their community treated as L.A.'s dumping ground, Sun Valley residents have finally begun to organize and demand better treatment from local businesses and government.

A fruit of these efforts has been that environmentally hazardous businesses that hope to expand operations there -- such as auto yards, landfills and mining outfits -- are agreeing to pay remediation fees to help clean up blight and improve the local quality of life.

That means that Sun Valley could net some $200,000 a year in community- improvement funds -- a drop in the bucket, to be sure, but a drop more than nothing, which is what the community has received in the past for its suffering.

But even this minor compensation could get lost in the City Hall money pit. Last December, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo brokered an environmental settlement with Bradley Landfill in which the dump agreed to pay $75,000 -- two-thirds of which ended up going to a charitable organization that had ties to Delgadillo, but none to Sun Valley.

Local leaders want to make sure that doesn't happen again. That's why the Sun Valley Neighborhood Council has asked the L.A. City Council to set up a trust fund overseen by a citizens steering committee to make sure that Sun Valley's money stays in Sun Valley.

The City Council should do just that. Sun Valley residents bear the burden of their community's hazards; they ought to get to decide how to mitigate them.

Giving Sun Valley residents control over their own money is truly the least the city can do to make amends with this mistreated community and empower neighborhoods.

For once, city leaders need to give up a little bit of power and money, and give local communities a chance.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Aug 15, 2006
Words:333
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