Friday, August 5, 2011

Oceanside City Councilmember Gary Felien: Oceanside stands against special interest

North County Times Forum
By: Oceanside City Councilmember Gary Felien
August 2, 2011

At our last meeting, three members of the Oceanside City Council took a stand against powerful special interests and stood up to protect the will of the people.

On July 6, the Oceanside City Council voted 3-2 to oppose SB 833 by Sen. Juan Vargas (D-San Diego), taking an official stand against unnecessary and dangerous legislation that attempts to overrule the will of Oceanside and San Diego County voters.

SB 833 is a blatant attempt by Sacramento politicians to intrude in local affairs, by stepping in at the last minute to block an approved landfill project that Oceanside and San Diego County voters supported overwhelmingly at the polls in two separate landslide elections.

SB 833 targets the Gregory Canyon Landfill, which is one of the most exhaustively studied and thoroughly researched projects of its kind. After 17 years of detailed planning and scientific review, this state-of-the-art facility has received multiple permits from some of the strictest environmental regulators in the nation. After studying the facts, scientific experts determined that Gregory Canyon presents no threat to local waterways or the underground aquifer and could in fact set new national standards when it becomes one of the most environmentally protected landfills in the country.

The facts, science and data support Gregory Canyon, which is why project opponents are now circumventing the legal approval process and resorting to dirty politics to try to block it.

SB 833 is a dangerous, job-killing bill that sets a chilling precedent. It sends a message to businesses across the country that in California, companies are punished for playing by the rules and project approval depends on pay-to-play politicians.

The Gregory Canyon Landfill should be approved or denied based on its merits, not special-interest politics. As local elected officials, we shouldn't allow out-of-town politicians to bully local voters, community leaders and elected representatives who have overwhelmingly supported this project on multiple occasions.

I'm proud to be part of a City Council that took a stand against special-interest politics and stood up for what is right. I'm now hoping the state Legislature will do the same.

 Gary Felien is a member of the Oceanside City Council.

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