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Monday, Dec 02 2013 03:05 PM

Golden Hills activist files Grand Jury complaint

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Adrian Maaskant

The solid waste debate embroiling many of the Golden Hills community members and leaders reached another marking point when resident Adrian Maaskant announced on GoldenHillsNetwork.com that he had filed a complaint Nov. 18, with the Kern County Grand Jury.

The file includes supporting documents dating back to the Community Services District's establishment in 1966, intended to solidify the argument in favor of GHCSD's ability to direct solid waste control within its boundaries.

Named as blameworthy agencies in the complaint are the Kern County Board of Supervisors and the Kern County Local Agency Formation Commission.

In part, the complaint states, "...the Kern County Board of Supervisors violated [state law] by initiating the divestiture of solid waste authority from Golden Hills Community Services District, a power reserved only to the elected members of the [GHCSD] board of directors... Statements made at the [Oct. 23] LAFCo meeting by the LAFCo commissioners shed light on the reasoning used by the commissioners -- reasoning that confirms the commissioners are prepared to act beyond their authority in a manner which will bring harm to Golden Hills CSD and the community it serves."

Maaskant urged fellow residents to submit a form letter in support of the grievance to the Grand Jury, which is available on the Golden Hills Network website.

He freely admitted his alliance with the site and intention to tip the political scales in Golden Hills' favor by filing the complaint.

"In the end, I think it will be a political decision," Maaskant said in a phone interview. "[The submission] is a political effort to sway LAFCo in their Dec. 4 decision."

Golden Hills board members approved a conditional contract with J. Torres Company on Nov. 21 to provide trash hauling services beginning April 2014. The agreement is contingent upon a favorable vote by LAFCo.

Recall effort continues

Local political activist Virginia Staabs continues collecting signatures on the recall election petition she has been organizing. As of Nov. 27, Staabs was unsure how many signatures had been collected, but said several signature sheets are circulating. The deadline to accumulate the required support -- just less than 1,200 signatures -- is Jan. 4, 2014.

Benz distributes letters

Benz Sanitation, which has a contract with Kern County to collect refuse in Golden Hills, is reaching out to area residents with its own message, in the form of letters and a full page ad in this edition of the Tehachapi News.

In the letter, the company states that its purpose is informational and that "there are attempts being made to smear Benz and attack some of its employees as a distraction to take attention away from the facts."

Benz asked LAFCo to reconsider its earlier decision to affirm the district's waste management powers.

LAFCo hearing

LAFCo will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, Dec. 4, to reconsider its March 27, 2013, vote amending GHCSD's services to include sewer, solid waste, cemetery and cultural services. The governing body will then vote on the measure.

The hearing will be at 5 p.m. in the Board of Supervisors Chambers, 1115 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield.

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