City attorney creates strike force to combat illegal dumping in L.A.
Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer announced Thursday the creation of a strike force to combat illegal dumping in the city’s most notorious sites for such activity.
The team, which includes members of city, county and regional agencies, will initially target nine sites throughout the city. Strike force members will conduct inspections, prosecute violators and clean up the sites, Feuer said.
“Illegal dumping threatens public health and safety, it erodes quality of life in our neighborhoods and we can do something about that,” he said. “We hope that this becomes a sustained effort that’s much broader.”
While Feuer did not list specific locations, the nine sites being targeted are in neighborhoods including Boyle Heights, Pacoima, Wilmington and South L.A.
The sites are typically in places that have been neglected and where there “hasn’t been enough concerted community focus,” Feuer said. In the initial target areas, the team is aiming to ensure that within a month of identifying a problem area, it will have been cleaned up, Feuer said.
“It often gets frustrating that as often as we do what we can with our current resources, people keep dumping illegally throughout our neighborhoods,” said Councilman Jose Huizar, who represents District 14, which includes Boyle Heights. “This effort that our city attorney is putting together... will bring more resources and at the end of the day what we will have is a better quality of life for all our residents.”
In the last fiscal year, the Bureau of Sanitation’s call center received about 600,000 service requests, of which 65% involved illegal dumping, said Kevin James, president of the Board of Public Works. The bureau collected approximately 7,500 tons of illegally dumped material in the last fiscal year through citywide sweeps and alley cleanups.
There were over 2,000 illegal-dumping notices sent to violators in the last two fiscal years, James said.
In addition to educating the community, the strike force is going to reach out to businesses to ensure they’re not encouraging or participating in illegal dumping.
Through the strike force, the city attorney’s office is filing criminal charges in two separate alleged illegal dumping incidents in Wilmington. Each defendant could face up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines for each count.
“We want to catch people who do this and we want to send a message that if you do it, we’re going to find you and we’re going to prosecute you,” Feuer said. “We’re hopeful that we will preempt problems in the future from occurring.”
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