That’s the question, and the answer will tell us whether $1.1 million on a new study is the deal of the century, or more insulting waste.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Densely populated urban areas are no place for landfills. Neighborhoods and schools shouldn’t be subjected to the smells, the leaks, the potential health and safety hazards. They shouldn’t have to endure the endless stream of diesel-powered, exhaust-spewing trash trucks passing through their communities. If city leaders were serious about exploring alternatives, they would have pursued them long ago – like before inking the deal to dump in Sunshine Canyon back in 1999. Or they would have investigated the matter at some point over the past six years, before signing a six-month extension for Sunshine Canyon this summer that’s likely to be followed by a five-year deal come February. But that’s all history now. Meanwhile, city leaders spent $400,000 to look into other possibilities – such as hauling trash out to the desert or converting it to energy – and now they’re putting down $1.1 million to investigate further. There’s little mystery here. There are other options. It’s just a matter of whether City Hall is willing to spend a little more to pursue them, just as it gladly spends a lot more every time it cuts a sweetheart deal with some politically connected union or developer. Are city leaders as willing to invest in the local quality of life as they are in their campaign contributors? In the never-ending game over the Sunshine Canyon Landfill, the Los Angeles City Council has agreed to spend $1.1 million to “study” alternatives to the city’s practice of dumping millions of tons of trash in the heavily populated San Fernando Valley. An optimist would call the study a worthwhile investment. A pessimist would say it’s an expensive charade – a pricey way to pretend City Hall wants to stop dumping in the Valley, when really it has no such intention. On balance, the pessimists have it right. City leadership’s long legacy of betrayal on this issue is hard to ignore. Perhaps things have changed, but we’ve yet to see any concrete evidence to believe that. Still, the study is decades overdue, and if it opens the eyes of the council and mayor to the real alternatives to Sunshine Canyon, it would be a major turning point for the city.