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[greenyes] Both sides of landfill measure battle cry foul

According to Measure B proponents this initiative has a huge undecided vote.


Both sides of landfill measure battle cry foul
10/21/2004 - SAN DIEGO CA

By: ANNE RILEY-KATZ - staff writer

Recent campaign advertisements aired in the battle over the controversial
Gregory Canyon landfill have dump opponents and supporters pointing fingers and
crying foul.

The complaints focus on television spots for and against Proposition B, a
November ballot measure that would overturn the 1994 site approval for the
debated North County landfill.

Camps on both sides of the issue contend each others' advertisements are
misleading, and each side appealed to local media Thursday to bring attention to
the issue.

Political consultants for landfill developers hosted a news conference
Thursday morning to tout a new television commercial addressing what they allege are
false statements made in advertisements aired by landfill opponents.

The new ad, which will run on local television stations next week, tries to
fend off dump opponents' allegations regarding the landfill's environmental

The spot features Lisa Briggs, executive director of the San Diego County
Taxpayers Association, addressing landfill foes' contentions about water
contamination and North County's need for the landfill, among others.

"Their statements have been deceptive," Briggs said after the conference. "As
far as environmental damage, without the landfill we would have more traffic
and more pollution, with increased traffic and fuel consumption as trash is
trucked to landfills in South and East County."

Prop B. supporters and demonstrators, among them county Supervisor Pam
Slater-Price, staged a protest Thursday afternoon outside the offices of the Utility
Consumers Action Network, or UCAN, a consumer advocacy group focused on
energy, utilities and telecommunications.

The protesters rallied against a pro-landfill commercial featuring Michael
Shames, executive director of the Utility Consumers Action Network. Though
Shames said the ad represented his personal views and was created on his personal
time, he appeared in the commercial without the knowledge or consent of the
group's board of directors.

Niel Lynch, vice chairman of the group's board of directors, expressed a
desire to distance Shames' actions from the group and its board members.

"The main concern is that (Shames') name was too closely linked to UCAN when
he was acting as private individual," Lynch said after the demonstration. "I
would have preferred to see some kind of disclaimer stating that his views are
not those of UCAN or the board, because as the founder, his name has been as
close to UCAN as Colonel Sanders is to Kentucky Fried Chicken."

Demonstrators holding "Yes on B" signs shouted "Shame on Shames" during the
demonstration, during which Shames appeared and spoke with news media in
attendance about the ad.

"I tried my best in this situation to make it clear that I do not speak for
UCAN," Shames said in an interview after the protest, adding that he thought
the proposed landfill would benefit consumers by driving prices down. "I did
make a point not to get UCAN involved and not to do it on UCAN time."

The debated $60 million dump is slated for about 320 acres on a 1,770-acre
site two miles west of the Pala Indian Reservation and three miles east of the
Highway 76-Interstate 15 interchange.

The site was once owned by waste industry giant Waste Management, but was
sold to Gregory Canyon developers in 1999.

The Gregory Canyon landfill was approved a decade ago when county voters
passed Proposition C, which amended the county's land-use plan so the property
could be zoned for a landfill.

Both sides are familiar with controversy, having fought a costly and public
battle to keep the measure on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Financial statements filed this week showed that landfill supporters have
stepped up campaign spending this month, more than doubling the money spent by
dump opponents so far in October.

The "No on B" campaign pumped an additional $1 million into its effort this
month, while dump opponents slowed their spending in October to $444,000
through midmonth.

As of Oct. 16, both sides had spent about $1.8 million each and campaign
expenditures continue to pile up as Election Day nears, with a combined total of
close to $4 million spent so far by the two camps.

Contact staff writer Anne Riley-Katz at (760) 631-6622 or

© 1997-2004 North County Times - Lee Enterprises

San Diego, California

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