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1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]

Now and Then in the SCV
| Monday, Nov 24, 2014

darrylmanzer_blacktieI’ve been reading the proposed changes to the policies and procedures of the Castaic Area Town Council. What a bunch of elitist hogwash. No kidding.

What do they mean that one cannot use a private recording device to record the meetings on video or, I would surmise, audio-only?

The proposed changes are over the top. What do we expect from a town council that allowed the son of a member on the council to be paid for work at the recent polling place? Can you say nepotism?

When was the vote taken to pay for the poll sitters? Who approved those people? I guess there would be more of an uproar if more people showed up to vote.

For those who did vote, well done.

There is something really rotten in Castaic, and it all points to the connection between Chiquita Canyon Landfill and the Castaic Area Town Council.

An email from a resident in the Castaic area said the proposed changes would ban recordings by others and charge $75 for a copy of the recordings made by the Town Council. Among other things, it says, “Personal tape recorders will not be allowed only official Town Council recorders are allowed [sic].” The link is provided [here]. Agua Dulce Town Council tried this, and folks there took them to court and won.

Much of the wording of the proposed changes is more than a little ambiguous. It also states, “The release of a certificated copy shall be by a majority vote of the Town Council.” Does this mean the public can’t get copies of what the Town Council does without a majority vote of the Town Council members?

The Town Council wants to push through the changes before the newly elected members of the council take office. What is the rush? The credibility of the current members has been so tarnished at this point that any changes they propose are nothing but an attempt to confuse the issues. The current members want the “power” and are not going to go gently.

If you look at the Castaic Area Town Council’s website (www.castaicareatowncouncil.org), you might get the impression the policies aren’t being revised. At least that is how the comments on the first page appear.

How many times must it be said that the Castaic Area Town Council is going for the money from the dump and nothing more? They don’t care about the effects the landfill expansion would have on Val Verde and the surrounding neighborhoods. They don’t serve the folks who elected them. They serve themselves.

Could the people in Castaic please email, call, send a telegram or whatever other means to tell Supervisor Antonovich that the Castaic Area Town Council needs to submit financial disclosure forms? Also, the financial records of the Town Council need to be audited, and all communication between members of the Town Council and Chiquita Canyon Landfill should be reviewed.

How more plain can it be? The residents of the Castaic area, the entire area, should request that the District Attorney investigate how the dump has used donations to all kinds of organizations that could influence the county Regional Planning Commission to approve the expansion. This includes not only the Castaic Area Town Council but also the West Ranch Town Council, which has run a couple of articles on its blog, blaming the smell on the septic systems of the residents of Val Verde. Just so you know, a big chunk of the advertising on that particular online publication is from the Chiquita Canyon Landfill. Isn’t that special?

The documents exist – and have been sent to the Regional Planning Commission – to prove Chiquita Canyon Landfill accepted the type of material that is specifically prohibited for dumping there. The test well data that have been released show all manner of toxic chemicals being dumped there. Does this make a “good neighbor?”

This is a Santa Clarita Valley problem, not just a Castaic area problem. Everyone in the SCV should be concerned that the environmental damage may already have been done. It may already be too late. It may be a Ventura County problem, too. We don’t know if the toxic soup is leaching through to the Santa Clara River and heading into that county.

I’m going to ask the folks who fought and won against Measure S on the last ballot to please turn their attention to a very real problem in the SCV. This time there won’t be any help from big companies to collect or block signatures. It has to be a truly grass-roots campaign. We need to get a petition started to stop the expansion of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill and get it closed on schedule in 2019, as agreed in 1997. I think it is possible.

Can we get 18,000 signatures for that? Let’s start now.


Dump the Dump.

Thank you.



Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com. His older commentaries are archived at DManzer.com; his newer commentaries can be accessed [here]. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].


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  1. Susie Evans says:

    Thank you Mr. Manzer – this has now sent me off the edge. This is what I sent to our LA County Supervisor:
    “Mr. Antonovich, I am shocked you are not trying to stop the expansion of Chiquita Canyon Landfill like you were in the mid 1990’s.

    You should be at some of these meetings. The bullying of the citizens to shut them up and intimidate them is continuing with this CATC entity you oversee. We are watched by persons unknown. We all see the same type of car and occupants cruising our homes, but LASD can never “catch” them.

    With the CATC changing their by-laws they are denying us our rights to acquire documentation of their meetings. We will not be allowed to tape or record their meetings and if we ask for copies of anything it will cost the individual about $100 and up. It will be their word against the citizens.

    Read this commentary – listen to us – show us you care about us! I beg of you to come out to Castaic/Val Verde and speak to us personally.

  2. Erica says:

    Thank you for your article Mr. Manzer!

    Just wanted to let you know there IS a petition already created by the Citizens for Chiquita Canyon Landfill Compliance and you can sign it here:


    Please visit our website at http://www.c4cclc.com to get involved and stay informed. :)

  3. Paul Novak says:

    Mr. Manzer:

    It is an indisputable fact that town councils are not part of County government. Despite the ruling by a judge in the Agua Dulce Town Council case–a ruling, which, incidentally, has no precedential standing–there is nothing the County can do about the behavior of a town council. County staff scoured 50+ years of records of the Board of Supervisors, and there is not a single action in that time span connecting town councils in any legal way to County government.

    The county does not fund town councils,County lawyers will not advise a town councils, and the county has no say over their operations.

    While the issues you and others raise may be of concern, it is unrealistic to expect that the county to somehow intervene and force a town council to do anything.

    – Paul Novak, former planning deputy to Supervisor Antonovich

  4. Susie Evans says:

    Mr. Novak, do these town councils have to follow Robert’s Rules? Or follow the Brown’s act? Do they report or recommend anything to the Supervisor? If not, then what the heck are they in existence for and why are people from Antonovich’s office at these meetings?

  5. Sara says:

    The government building space is donated to the Council for their meetings, County representatives visit their public meetings regularly and without pay, the CATC authored the Community Standards District (which is written into law) and they enforce the CSD regularly.

    Why not just comply? Most advisory bodies in unincorporated LA comply with open-government laws.

  6. Gee, now that Mr. Paul Novak has cleared that up, what about this excerpt from the LA County website on Community Connections:

    Town councils have been established in Antelope Valley to be your local forum to voice community concerns. These organizations consist of unincorporated area residents like yourselves who volunteer their time to hear input from local residents and make recommendations to your elected County officials and County staff.”

    I would have quoted from the Santa Clarita Valley Community Connections report website, but it seems to be missing…it pops up the report for Rowland Heights instead.

    Per Mr. Novak’s comments, he is telling the truth, and doing so very carefully. Town Councils are formed under nonprofit Public Benefit Corporations law in California. But the fact is, all unincorporated areas in LA County fall under county government, making the LA County Supervisors the “city council” for everyone in the county*, including unincorporated communities like Castaic and Aqua Dulce.

    Does anyone really think that Mike Antonovich isn’t the most powerful person in the Fifth District, an area that has a greater population than some states? That he can’t yank a string and make puppets dance?

    Wake up folks.

    Jim Van Sickle

    *That’s a paraphrase from a statement in the Rowland Heights CC report.

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