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John Luker:

“Runkle Ranch is going to built adjacent to the sodium burn pit. I don’t know if you guys know what the sodium burn pit is or was. If you did, I think you’d think twice about this. Based on my research, they took primary reactor core coolant – liquid sodium – pumped it into a pond on the back forty and just let it burn off. The resulting fallout blew in all directions and it has contaminated a wide area up there. That includes Runkle Ranch. If you found any strontium-90, cesium-137, plutonium-238, uranium-235 or any other constituents of chemicals and or rads from this property; the combination is deadly. And all you’re going to need is from three to five years from now a case retinoblastoma to be developed in this development, and I will be back here with that child’s mother to address you again.”

Christina Walsh:

“Don’t make this mistake now. This cannot be undone. When you start digging this up and putting that contaminated dust into the air, you can’t undo it. You are basically re-exposing everybody to the accidents and mistakes of fifty years. And you know better. SB-990 – you supported it, you know better. The Governor knows better. he made a deal that says (Rocketdyne) can only be parkland because it is so contaminated. You cannot make this mistake and think that we’re not going to be back. I really urge to take a look at that EIR and ask for re-sampling, independent sampling and to look in the right places. Look where they know they did it.”

Council Member Barbra Williamson:

“I have a question for Mrs. Walsh. An Environmental Impact Report was done, what, 2002, whenever Runkle came in front of us but. And people are saying that there are flaws with that Environmental Impact Report. What makes you think that if we do another full Environmental Impact Report that we are going to get results that will be passing as far as the residents are concerned or your group?”

Walsh said 700 sodium burn pit documents released in August 2006 and is new information.


“But if it’s a new find, what’s to say if we don’t do a new Environmental Impact Report and find ‘Oh, there’s something new that we’ve just discovered’ then starting the whole thing over again?”

Walsh said a real independent EIR will find contaminants and then the city should consider making the land “open space.”

Mary Wiesbrock:

“I want to thank you for your support of SB-990. Save Open Space Santa Monica Mountains represents 1,000 people in Ventura County. You do have a legal right to ask for – you have new information of significance – you have a legal right to ask for a Supplemental EIR. Actually in the Subdivision Map Act, you have the legal right because you’re going to have to make a finding that there’s hazards here. You have a legal right to clean it up to also vote no because of the hazards you don’t want to make a Statement of Overriding Considerations.

“We would like to put into the record that the environmental work on the hazards area in inadequate. In order to protect public health and safety of existing residents and new future residents, a full health risk assessment needs to be done. This new health risk assessment must analyze the Runkle property in the following areas: air toxics, soil gases, water and alluvial sampling. All of this should be done in a full grid sampling according to EPA standards, not one sample per every two acres. That is inadequate. Potential exposure studies shall include soil, surface water, sediments, groundwater, soil gas – these people living in these homes – there could be toxic soil gas migrating up into their houses.

“Unlike the past Santa Susana Field Lab testing, we want the water sampling to be done correctly. All the past testing that showed that there was no problem at Brandeis was done incorrectly using filters. They filtered out the metals and radionuclides resulting in falsely lowered (results). And like Ahmanson Ranch, which is also in the SSFL watershed zone, contamination was found there and then the owners sold it as open space. We hope a similar situation happens here. We hope KB Homes sells it as open space to protect public health and safety.”

Mayor Paul Miller:

“I have no further cards so the public portion is closed. This is not an agendized item tonight so we cannot get into a discussion among ourselves on the dais but I do have a couple of comments I want to make before we go into council comments.

“This council has said many times that we would not move forward unless we were satisfied that the area was safe and we’re not satisfied. Right now there is still analysis being done and I’ll speak for the group and you can correct me if I’m wrong – none of us believes that the project should move forward until such time that each one of us feel satisfied that it’s not a hazardous area. I mean we all live here too. We’re residents and we hear your concerns and so we’re not oblivious.

“There also seems to be a belief that the council, the city is about to approve the grading permit. Not true. That grading permit has been put permanently on hold and, again, until we are satisfied, we are not going to have any grading done, so I don’t know if the rest of you want to comment on it or not. Okay. We hear you, again, and we’ll continue to work with you.”


Council Member Glen Becerra:

“I want to finish off by saying how happy I am. You know, this council called for Rocketdyne to be parkland a long time ago and I’m very pleased with the announcement and the agreement that was that had by the Governor and by the Boeing company and that we were able to see that through to secure that land as open space. It’s terrific.”


“Well Mr. Mayor I think I will start off with some comments on Runkle Ranch and know that you had made some comments but I have to tell you that I’ve been up here now for a couple of years listening to the concerns about Runkle Ranch and about KB Homes and, quite frankly, I’m a little bit tired of the scare tactics that are over the Internet and flyers that are being published. You know, this council has really taken an active part in making sure that any decisions that get done with KB Homes and Runkle will be good for all of the community, not just the people who live around it. I get very offended when the council gets thrown under the bus.

“We have not made any decisions. No grading is being done. You know we want to hear what the residents’ concerns are and we do listen. We’ve always listened but to make those kind of statements by flyer or Internet to say that we’re on the take – I mean I’m offended and I’m not happy. I think it’s the worst thing you can do for this community. We always listen and for you to put out a publication like that, shame on you. Shame on you.

“I mean this council is doing everything they can to make sure that everybody gets a fair hearing, not just the residents, but KB Homes too. They deserve that. We may not approve that project but we don’t know that yet. We’re going to take every step we need to take to make sure that everybody has a fair hearing and a fair say as to what happens with that project. So please, don’t throw us under the bus. Give us some credit. Let us do our job and if we don’t do our job, you can recall all of us. But until that time, please, have some manners. Be respectful. We are of you. Thank you.”

Mayor Pro Tem Steve Sojka:

“I want to talk a little bit about Runkle Ranch. First of all, the couple that’s sitting here. I respect you and thank you for coming down here. I know it takes a lot to come down to your city council. You’re busy. You’re running your own lives, probably have kids, things you got to do, other places you could be at this point, but the concern you have to come down and speak to us speaks volumes and I respect that. I also want to tell you too, though, to be careful with some of the people that are behind some of this stuff because it is rhetoric. They put out flyers that say we’re in the back pocket of the developer, that we’re criminals, that just all we want to do is build all over Simi Valley and that’s not true.

“We have a slow growth ordnance in place. You look around our community and in the last 10, 15 years, I thought we’ve done a pretty good job of developing it. We’re going to do the same with this and we have pulled the hand brake and the comment that you made is fitting. We saw fit, the EIR said it was fit to build up there and that’s usually the document that this body relies on but then there were some other concerns spread about strontium-90 and some of the other chemicals up there and so we thought, okay, to be safe, to ensure public safety, let’s pull the hand brake on it, let’s hold off the grading permit and do additional tests and go to three outside agencies so that they can look and give their impute back to us, that if this is flawed, let us know because we want to know, or if this is proved science and correct science. So that’s taken place so I just want to assure you that we just don’t want to develop wherever we can develop.

“I’ll say this again, it’s personal. My dad died of leukemia. I grew up here in Simi Valley. You don’t think I’m not concerned about this? I’m raising three kids out here. I’ve got my brothers’ nieces and nephews who live here. I’ve got my wife and her sisters and all the other nieces and nephews on that side. So it’s extremely important that we make sure that we’re not going to cause any undue health concern or health risk to this community. And so, with that being said, there’s two sides to every story and so we have got to weigh that so I just want you to know that but I respect people like you that come down and speak their voice and the concern.

“Again, but then you have some of them that will spill the rhetoric with their cameras and as you can see now are gone. And so again there is that balancing act and I think that’s why Council Member Williamson gets a little frustrated, and I think all of us do, and that’s because; you know I know we asked for this job when we go out and try to be elected but it comes a point where you need to be civil and respectful and professional sometimes they cross that line. That’s all. That’s the frustrating part on our end. That being said, I think it’s good we are having this dialogue. I think it’s good that they bring this to the forefront so that we can discuss this so that we make sure that whatever we do up there, it’s of safe sound science and that’s all I’m going to say.”

24 Years of Award-Winning SSFL/Rocketdyne Reporting
June 1998June 2022

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