Williamson Resigns as Chair of Task Force

Barbra Williamson has officially resigned from the Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Task Force, according to this news release distributed this morning by the Task Force:

*** UPDATE: Barbra Williamson has resigned as Chair of the Task Force, but still remains a member of the group. ***

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Resignation of Barbra Williamson, Chair of the Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Task Force

Simi Valley, CA (December 8, 2010) – Barbra Williamson announced today the resignation as Chair of the Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Task force effective immediately.

Citing the perception of a possible conflict of interest due to her recent appointment to the negotiating committee with Mayor Huber and City Manager Mike Sedell on discussions with Waste Management and the proposed landfill expansion, Williamson thought it best to step down.

SVLET member Louis Pandolfi will take over as acting chair.  “The Task Force has exceeded my greatest expectations and I know it will continue in its professional investigation of the impacts of the landfill expansion on the residents and businesses in our Community”, Williamson said.

“Task Force members will surely miss the leadership that Barbra has provided for over three years, during which she has worked tirelessly to protect Simi Valley from the negative environmental impacts that will result from the proposed landfill expansion”  said Charles Blaugrund Task Force Member. “We wish her success in her new assignment with Mayor Huber.”

Landfill Expansion Taskforce Website

Minutes after I sent an email to Councilwoman Barbra Williamson offering to host a website for the Landfill Expansion Taskforce, she replied with a press release announcing the new website for the Taskforce! Obviously, she and the team have been working on this for a while and the website is a solid representation of data.

For information regarding the Landfill Expansion Taskforce, dates and schedules, as well as related documents, check out www.savesimi.com.

Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Task Force Announces Website Availability

Simi Valley –Barbra Williamson, Chair of the Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Task Force announced today that the Task Force has created a website available for viewing at savesimi.com  Responding to numerous requests by interested community members concerned about the negative impacts of the proposed Simi Valley Landfill expansion by Waste Management, Inc., Ms. Williamson states, “This website makes it easy for members of the public to contact the Task Force directly and share their points of view with us. I receive inquiries daily on how people can get involved in the Task Force and learn more about the landfill expansion. This gives them an opportunity.”

Found on the website is an overview of the landfill expansion, highlights of critical impacts effecting Simi Valley and neighboring communities, links to forward thinking waste-to-energy techniques and documents associated with the Task Force. Enlisting the aid of local college students, the creation of the website is one example of the commitment of volunteers to inform the community of the impacts resulting from a three-fold expansion of the landfill.

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The Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Task Force is an independent community group formed in 2007 by Simi Valley City Councilwoman Barbra Williamson and members of the community. The Taskforce is not affiliated with the City of Simi Valley or any other government body. Its mission is to keep the public informed and engaged on issues involving the Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center’s proposed expansion currently under consideration by the County of Ventura.

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Waste Management Requests Lawsuit Dismissal

Waste Management is requesting a dismissal of the lawsuit filed against them by the Landfill Task Force according to a statement released by Waste Management. WM is confused by the move and objects to the Task Force’s position. Here are a few of their remarks:

We continue to believe what we’ve always believed since the beginning of this project: that all Ventura County groups, residents and business people, and especially all Simi Valley residents, should expect us to be open and transparent about the project. And we have lived up to that.

Those comments, attributed to Mike Smith, Director of Operations for WM in Ventura County, were followed by these regarding the Task Force’s position on the legality of the expansion project:

The actions of Councilmember Williamson and her Task Force are confusing. We have been meeting with Councilmember Williamson and her Task Force since 2007 under the assumption that they were interested in making this a good project that would work for Simi Valley. Then, they file a lawsuit against the County and WM.
Then, they ask us to debate them while the lawsuit is awaiting a decision by the courts. Now, Councilmember Williamson tells the media that the Task Force isn’t suing us, even though they obviously are.

John Newell, Waste Management Corporate Counsel, concluded the statement with this to say about their plans for this case and the legality of the expansion:

WM, in our filing, is asking that the Court dismiss the lawsuit completely. This request is based on the undisputed facts that the proposed project is subject to a reimbursment agreement between the County and WM (i.e., the County is not spending taxpayer dollars) and that an independent body, CalRecycle has already determined that the project is properly described within the County Siting Element.

Simply put, the Task Force’s lawsuit fails on the facts and the law.

No word yet on how the Landfill Task Force intends to respond.

The statement can be read in its entirety by clicking here.

Landfill Debate Challenge

The election may be over, but the fight between the Landfill Taskforce and the Simi Valley Landfill continues to rage on. The Taskforce recently submitted a letter to the General Manager of Waste Management’s Simi Valley Landfill to debate the issue of the expansion in a public forum. The letter reads as follows:

November 4, 2010

Mike Smith
General Manager
Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center
2801 Madera Road
Simi Valley, CA 93065

Dear Mr. Smith:

The Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Taskforce invites Waste Management to participate in an open forum/debate on the issues surrounding the expansion of Simi Valley Landfill. We believe the community would benefit from an opportunity to hear all sides of the proposed expansion in a forum that ensures the debate does not become a battle of competing sound bites, half-truths and unanswered questions.

A community forum/debate with mutually agreed upon rules would prove beyond a doubt WM’s commitment to the principles outlined in your April ll, 2007 press release announcing Waste Management’s application for expansion of the Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center. You stressed that WM is “committed to meeting the long-term waste disposal and recycling needs of Ventura County in an environmentally sensitive, cost-effective and community-focused manner.”

We would like to schedule this for early to mid December and have already spoken with California Lutheran University Professor Herbert Gooch, PhD. and he has agreed to serve as the moderator. I am hopeful you will accept our invitation at which time we can finalize the remaining pertinent details.

You can contact me at your convenience at 805.231.2497.

Barbra Williamson
Councilwoman, City of Simi Valley
Chair, Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Taskforce

So far, all we know at this point is that Waste Management is in receipt of this letter. No official word yet on whether or not they will accept the challenge and participate in the debate.

November 4, 2010
Mike Smith
General Manager
Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center
2801Madera Road
Simi Valley, CA 93065
Dear _.””~ ..I.•..,…”••..•. ”
The Simi V ey Landfill Expansion Taskforce invites Waste Management to participate in an open
forum/debate on the issues surrounding the expansion of Simi Valley Landfill. We believe the
community would benefit from an opportunity to hear all sides of the proposed expansion in a forum
that ensures the debate does not become a battle of competing sound bites, half-truths and unanswered
questions.
A community forum/debate with mutually agreed upon rules would prove beyond a doubt WM’s
commitment to the principles outlined in your April ll, 2007 press release announcing Waste
Management’s application for expansion of the Simi Valley Landfill and Recycling Center. You stressed
that WM is “committed to meeting the long-term waste disposal and recycling needs of Ventura County
in an environmentally sensitive, cost-effective and community-focused manner.”
We would like to schedule this for early to mid December and have already spoken with California
Lutheran University Professor Herbert Gooch, PhD. and he has agreed to serve as the moderator. I am
hopeful you will accept our invitation at which time we can finalize the remaining pertinent details.
You can contact me at your convenience at 805.231.2497.
Barbra Williamson
Councilwoman, City of Simi Valley
Chair, Simi Valley Landfill Expansion Taskforce