The Monday, November 27th, issue of the Santa Maria Sun again proves how valuable it is to have an independent newspaper in our town. It contains a letter to the editor from former County of Santa Barbara Supervisor Toru Miyoshi, lobbing several grenades back at Mayor Larry Lavagnino.
Miyoshi details in his letter to the editor how the city has recently changed its acceptance criteria for PCBs at the landfill, increasing the level by 500 percent.
PCBs ???? This is the first time that toxic chemical has been mentioned. Lynn Melville told us about the 1998 Environmental Impact Report that detailed the BTEXs (benzene, toluene, xylene and ethylbenzene) in the Guadalupe soil -- and now we have to look forward to drinking PCBs in our water in the future also?
Most importantly, Miyoshi refers to the recent lawsuit brought by 18-year-old Scott Chenoweth against several oil companies, claiming that his diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia is directly caused as a result of living in a neighborhood contaminated by past oil drilling. (See November 3, 2006, Santa Maria Times article.)
(Chenoweth has grown up in Santa Maria's Sunrise Hills neighborhood, where 17 residents have recently filed suit against the same oil companies over cleanup of contaminated sites within the development.)
Citing concerns for the city workers who will be handling the toxic Guadalupe soil (which contains the same chemicals as found around the Chenoweth home), Miyoshi demands that Mayor Larry Lavagnino and the city council suspend the transfer of the toxic Guadalupe soil to the landfill until the outcome of the lawsuit has been determined.
While feeling grateful that watchdog Miyoshi is still working on behalf of the citizens, one wonders why the officials elected to do that very job -- the Santa Maria City Council members -- aren't doing the same thing.