Los Angeles

LA Councilman Aims to Increase Enforcement on Illegal Dumping Downtown

"It is deplorable and a health and safety issue that should not be allowed to occur in the second-largest city in the nation."

Councilman Jose Huizar introduced a motion Wednesday calling for additional resources to address illegal dumping in the city's downtown area, including hiring more crews to increase cleanups.

The motion proposes that homeless and formerly homeless individuals be employed to provide trash and bulky-item cleanup services two days per week, five hours per day, through Chrysalis, a nonprofit employment services program that separately provides trash and street cleaning support to numerous Business Improvement Districts.

Huizar is also proposing increased enforcement, fines targeting offenders and rewards for people who report illegal dumping, and wants city departments to report on specific notification practices when reporting illegal dumping.

His motion was seconded by council members Nury Martinez, Monica Rodriguez, Curren Price, Joe Buscaino and Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

"I have long said that downtown Los Angeles needs an emergency, triage-like response when it comes to addressing homelessness, but that is also true for the amount of trash that is illegally dumped on our streets," Huizar said. "It is deplorable and a health and safety issue that should not be allowed to occur in the second-largest city in the nation. We must do better and it must consist of improved cleanup practices, along with enforcement against those businesses and others who blatantly pollute our streets." 

The city currently has 20 crews that operate as either "Clean Streets LA" or "HOPE" teams, which primarily focus on addressing sanitation and other concerns related to homeless encampments.

Huizar said more funding was allocated in the city's 2019-2020 fiscal year budget to add 11 more sanitation crews and a second Recreation and Parks crew for illegal dumping and encampment issues in city parks, but the backlog, but challenges remain in quickly hiring and training the staff to deploy those crews amid a growing backlog of service requests.

So far this year, LA Sanitation has responded to an average of 1,200 illegal dumping reports per month, according to Huizar's office, which said most requests are generally handled within two weeks.

Service requests are centralized and tracked through the city's 3-1-1 system, which allows anyone to call or use the MyLA311 app to report a range of service needs, including illegal dumping, graffiti and potholes, Huizar's motion asks for an update on the processes.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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