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Commentary by Steve Lee
| Friday, Sep 11, 2015

steveleeAt last night’s meeting of the Val Verde Civic Association (Sept. 10), the residents of Val Verde exploded with anger. Why? Well, they had just found out the residents of Val Verde are not being represented.

Val Verde currently has two people who represent them at Castaic Area Town Council meetings (CATC). Recently, the CATC held a vote. The issue was: Should the CATC write a letter to Supervisor Antonovich, asking him to ensure the Chiquita Canyon Landfill will no longer accept deadly substances in a landfill that sits so close to human populations? The CATC voted not to write such a letter, even though its members held copies of some of the receipts of such transactions in their hands.

What was most surprising was that one of the two representatives of Val Verde also voted against the letter being sent.

He gave many reasons, after an opinion piece was written about the vote. His reasons were: “Virtually every organ and tissue within the human body contains some acetone, which is one of three biochemicals collectively referred to as ketone bodies. Acetone is produced within the body.” And: “How do you dump ionizing radiation into a landfill?” And: “Hydrogen peroxide and iodine are used for cuts. Wrenches and screwdrivers are made of chrome vanadium (two metals on the list of hazardous substances going into the landfill). Tin? Steel cans are coated with tin to keep them from rusting. Strontium is in our bones.”

At the meeting, this Val Verde representative, Greg Kimura, gave the town another good reason:

“I am not supposed to vote for the citizens of Val Verde, but I am to vote for the needs of Castaic.”

The other representative replied: “I will always represent the residents of Val Verde.”

To which Kimura quickly responded: “Then you are not doing your job, Bonnie.”

So, there it is.

The CATC has 10 voting members from five regions. Each region has two representatives who sit on the CATC board. Most of the residents of each region are under the impression that their representative is there to fight and defend the needs of their particular region.

They are dead wrong, according to Greg Kimura.

Greg stated: “It is in the bylaws of the CATC.” You night wonder, “Who would write such bylaws?” Well, there is something that does kind of make such a reference. If a representative chooses to interpret it in such a way.

The bylaws say: “CATC member must give equal consideration to their region and Castaic as a whole.”

The representative of Val Verde has apparently taken that to mean that he must always vote Castaic and forget Val Verde.

Not only is Val Verde not to be represented, but Live Oaks and Hasley Hills are also to vote the same way that the four remaining representatives of Castaic want them to vote.

As I said, there are 10 voting members of the CATC, and there are five regions represented. Three of the regions are severely impacted by odors from the landfill. Many of the people of those three regions are suffering health effects.

When I do the math, three regions are greater than two regions. The vote should have been in favor of writing the letter, since the greater need of Castaic residents is to feel healthy and safe within their own homes and yards.

I have come to the conclusion that two districts are to make the decisions for all five districts.

So, now whom do I call to represent me? It appears I have to call the representatives who represent the two districts farthest from the landfill. Wow. Representation does not get better than that.

If the picture were bigger, then then residents of California as a whole would not call Senator Boxer or Senator Feinstein, but they would have to research who the representatives are for Maine, Florida, New York – basically the two-fifths of the United States closest to the East Coast. Then all of the senators would have to be contacted. The person contacting each senator would then plead and beg each senator to cast a vote in favor of California’s wishes. Ludicrous.

When will Val Verde, Live Oaks and Hasley Hills have true representation?


Steve Lee is a resident of Val Verde.


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  1. Kate A. says:

    I’m so confused about this guy Greg. Every time I read about him it is about he betraying his own community. RECALL!

  2. Abigail says:

    WOW ! ! ! Here is the video of these comments being made in public. It is true this CATC Board member really did say this.

    I guess Supervisor Antonovich has to vote in favor of California before LA County or his district with this way of thinking. One would think what is good for the region/district/etc would be good in the end for the larger area. What the heck – this country is supposed to have representation to be taxed. I sure as heck am being taxed and now I find out I don’t have representation… Wonderful.

    • Greg Kimura says:

      This may help those who don’t understand.

      Supervisor Antonovich is the Supervisor for the 5th District of LA County. He considers people in the 5th District as his constituents and thus looks out for their interest over the entire state of California.

      Greg Kimura is a CATC Board Member. I am suppose to consider the people of Castaic as my constituents. I don’t put the interests of Santa Clarita, Ventura County, the State of California ahead of the interests of Castaic.

      When I was President of the Val Verde Civic Association, I looked out for the interests of the community of Val Verde, not just people who live near me.

      Logic: LA Supervisor looks out for LA County, CATC Board Members look out for Castaic. VVCA Board members looks out for Val Verde.

      Whoever wrote the CATC bylaws, created the clause in question for a reason. Why? Maybe to bring unity to Castaic vs having 10 Board Members from 5 Regions all looking out for their own region’s interests first?

  3. CS Garcia says:

    Here is some video proof to support Steve’s argument.

  4. Greg Kimura says:

    The group is called the Castaic Area Town Council. It’s not the Val Verde Town Council, right.

    When I was President of the Val Verde Civic Association, I looked out for the entire community of Val Verde.
    Example: From my house, I don’t smell the landfill, but I did what I could to fight for the people who live in the areas that do smell it.
    Logically, I am a Board member of the Castaic Area Town Council. Our bylaws say that I am suppose to consider the entire Castaic area in my decisions. And for those who aren’t aware, Val Verde is part of the Castaic area – we’re Region 2.

    Just for the record, I did not come out of left field with this comment. It was a response to an error I made at the July Val Verde Town Hall Meeting. At that meeting, Steve Lee asked me a question about who I was suppose to represent first, Val Verde or Castaic. I made the mistake and told him that each representative considers their region ahead of the needs of Castaic. I was correcting an error that I had made.

  5. Greg Kimura says:

    For those who were not at the meeting, you will hear a woman in the background saying that she will not follow this part of the CATC bylaws. That woman is Bonnie, who is the Region 2 representative for the Castaic Area Town Council.

    As a representative of the CATC, we are all sworn in to our position by a representative from our Supervisor’s office.

    Bylaws are the rules of the organization. If a Board Member breaks one of the bylaws, the Secretary of State can remove their entity, which means they are not allowed to operate in the state. Mistakes happen, which isn’t okay, but we’re volunteers and we’re doing the best we can. When someone blatantly states that they will violate the bylaws just because they feel like it … well, that is something that is very serious.

    My advice to Bonnie is to admit that she made a mistake. Admit that she got caught up in the dynamics of the meeting and that she didn’t think before she made the statement. She can then apologize to the CATC Board, publicly retract her statement and then promise to do a better job thinking before blurting things out.

    I know that I’ve said many things in the heat of a meeting or argument – things I didn’t think about and I admit that I have made mistakes.

    • Bonnie Nikolai says:

      What’s good for Val Verde is usually good for Castaic. I will vote with Val Verde because they are who elected me. I will never vote for something that would hurt my town. I will not apologize for loving my town. I didn’t do anything wrong. It says in the bylaws that I have to give equal consideration to Val Verde and Castaic. I have yet to find myself in a vote that pitted me against Castaic’s well being. Name one time I’ve actually voted against what I believe is best for Castaic? Oh you cannot. If you want to split hairs and I know you love to split hairs: I can think of three council people off the top of my head that have never taken other regions into consideration while I’ve sat on the CATC.
      I would appreciate you being more certain of a bylaw before going to the public with half truths. I can see what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to get me to break a bylaw so you can petition to have me removed from the board. Good luck with that since I have yet to break a bylaw. You should take your own advice and apologize for saying the county could hav Val Verde residents deported for retribution for signing the civil complaint. You should also apologize for telling people Acetone isn’t poisonous. The National Institute of Health disagrees with you. Maybe next VVCA meeting instead of running your mouth, you’ll tell people what is on the agenda and keep your snide remarks to yourself.

      • Greg Kimura says:

        When did I say that Acetone isn’t poisonous? I said it was the first item on “your” list and that’s where I started my research. I found out that it’s in the cells of our body. I knew it was used as nail polish remover and as a solvent. I questioned the logic of having it on a list of banned items. Being the first item on the list, I don’t think it’s a good start.

        I looked at other items on the list that I’m familiar with such as Iodine, Hydrogen Peroxide, Chrome, Vanadium, nonionizing radiation, tungsten, Nitorgen Oxides. Then I looked up some very dangerous chemicals and they aren’t on your list – Google search 10 most dangerous chemicals and you’ll see what I mean. If I’m questioning the list, what would the County think of it? Remember that’s who your audience is, not the residents of Val Verde.

        If snide remarks are facts, then I think the community should be aware of it. From your posts, you don’t want to share the full story. I understand why, but please don’t attack someone who is trying to pass facts to the residents.

        • Bonnie Nikolai says:

          The list came from the CDC’s registry for toxic substances. I trust the CDC has a better grasp of these chemicals than you do. I also said “I will always represent Val Verde,” and I will. Even when I’m no longer on the council, I will always represent Val Verde. You can twist my words and your own to delude yourself into believing I broke a bylaw and that you are innocent, but your opinion doesn’t matter to me. The opinions of the citizens who aren’t somehow related to you, those are the opinions that matter to me. You’re spending so much time trying to make me look bad. Have you ever heard the adage “the lady doth protesteth too much?” Perhaps your time would be better spent coming up with new strategies on how to keep our town safe?

    • Bonnie Nikolai says:

      You also said you have to consider Castaic over your region. The bylaws say we have to give EQUAL CONSIDERATION. If you consider Castaic over your region, you have broken the bylaw yourself. you said in the video you have to consider Castaic. Did you also make a mistake in the heat of the moment. You sir have met the kettle.

      • Greg Kimura says:

        Bonnie, Val Verde is Region 2 of Castaic. When an item comes up for a vote, we need to consider Castaic in our vote. We are Board Members of the Castaic Area Town Council – the word Castaic is in the title of our organization.

        The bylaws say this: We vote on what’s best for Castaic as a whole, which includes Val Verde. The difficult thing is that it may not be what’s best for Val Verde. So yes, you may need to give a yes vote to something that isn’t good for Val Verde, but is good for Castaic as a whole. You were not at the July Val Verde Town Hall meeting, which is where I mistakenly said that I would vote for Val Verde over Castaic. I made a mistake.

  6. Kevan Smalley says:

    I would like to know how allowing all those chemicals into the landfill is good for all of Castaic. Greg your just a landfill lackey and a recall should be directed at you!

  7. Susie Evans says:

    I missed the meeting, but I am sure I would have been dissed like Bonnie. I am one of the “radicals” that Greg has mentioned previously. Bonnie is doing what the community wants, not what the landfill wants. The landfill (DUMP) has lied in the past and gotten away with it, I don’t know how anyone can think they won’t do it again with a new CUP. Santa Clarita, open your eyes and ears, we are all getting screwed with the developments and the DUMP.

  8. Susie Evans says:

    Just realized Greg says “When I was President of the Val Verde Civic Association, I looked out for the entire community of Val Verde.” Why isn’t he President anymore? Why is the Val Verde community Association not a recognizable committee in the eyes of anyone in the governmental sector? Just wondering.

  9. SCVRealitySantaClarita says:

    Who’s your Daddy? By SCVsFinest!

  10. Richard Hood says:

    I don’t get it – why interpret the bylaws (if they indeed they say to consider both Castaic at large and Val Verde) as excluding any region’s interests?

    It is not logical to have regional representatives if they aren’t voting to defend that region’s concerns. That’s what Antonovich supposedly does, and our congressional reps, senators, etc., and that’s what our elected CATC representatives were elected to do too. It’s what’s they’ve always done up to now.

    Val Verde’s concerns are not being either defended or represented at all by the rest of the council. The remainder of the regions therefore could be seen as not doing their jobs in following their own bylaws.

    When a body, or a body of representatives, finds out that part of the body is under stress, or even perhaps cancerous, it knows that will affect the whole body and wisely removes the stressful situation or perhaps the tumor. It is supposed to be one whole, healthy body.

    Perhaps Val Verde should notify the media that it is so disappointed in Antonovich and his Castaic advisory council that they are removing themselves in protest from that harmful body – protecting themselves from further abuse. They sure aren’t getting the protections as citizens they need and deserve. Doing so couldn’t make things any worse for them, and maybe it would shame – if that were possible- or embarrass his office enough to stop dumping on Val Verde.

  11. Susie Evans says:

    Richard, I have been trying to get ABC, NBC, CBS, KTLA, and KTTV to listen and see what is going on to no avail. I hope another commentary by Steve Lee is posted. It has to do with a recall.

  12. Steven Lee says:

    Richard thank you for your post. The reality is that they could have voted no other way. They had already made an agreement with the landfill. If they were to speak up for any of their residents they would lose the money. This according to quotes (Jim Walker) took from the August CATC meeting. He wrote an article in the West Side Reader.

    “the possibility that by sending the letter, the council might be running afoul of the previous council’s vote to approve the landfill’s conditional use permit — which included the expansion of the landfill and the resulting $360,000 donated to Val Verde (approximately two-thirds) and Castaic (approximately one-third).

    There is the main reason Val Verde cannot be represented, to represent Val Verde, by doing the right thing would mean to give up the money. Greg Kimura was president of the VVCA when they struck a deal with Castaic to give them part of them mitigation money. Greg Kimura was the president of the VVCA when he made the agreement with Castaic to give them 30% of the mitigation fees. I was also a member of the board and I voted, No!

  13. Richard Hood says:

    Has anyone explained how the CATC can enter into a legal agreement with the county or landfill, when the same county says the CATC has zero standing or authority – not being in any way a part of county government?

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