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Letters to the Editor…TRASH MONOPOLY IS RUBBISH!

Posted on 01. Jan, 2018 by in all

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The below letter was sent to:

Dear Mayor Garcetti and Councilpersons:

For over three months we’ve been dealing with this terrible trash problem at Regent St., Los Angeles.   This is only one of the many sites where we have trash collection problems with Athens Services!  The new city garbage monopoly has radically increased the fees while eroding trash services.

Attached please see the photos taken today demonstrating Athens Service’s total disregard of their obligations!

We are calling several times a week to “remind” them to collect trash.  Sometimes it works, most often it doesn’t.  There is an indifference for adhering to scheduled services causing overflowing garbage and a health danger to our residents.

Their higher fees include $85.00 for pressing a remote control button or turning a key to unlock a gate.  By padding trash monopoly fees with bogus charges it will translate to an increase in the cost of rental  housing.  It has long been demonstrated that competition creates better goods and services while keeping costs to a minimum.   This is part of the success of the American free enterprise system!

Our government appears to talk out of both sides of its mouth.  It understands and advocates for the “need for affordable housing” yet it was complicit in  creating   a trash program  with excessive and frivolous fees that makes those, that could least afford it, pay more for their rental housing!  Kindly confirm that you received this transmission and were able to open the attachment.  Respectfully, Victor B. 

Dear AOA:

What is being done to counteract this trash franchise zone situation? My bill with Recology L.A. was $156.05 and has now increased to $433.22 per month. I am being charged $216.00 ($108 X2) to move the regular dumpster, and the now proposed recycle dumpster, out from the back of the building so that it can be emptied. How is it that the city can impose such a system that controls, dictates, what the property owner can and cannot do to service their building? Maybe it should be proposed that the City Council, and the county, should compensate the property owner by decreasing the property taxes since along with the rent control we are providing welfare to tenants, which is rightfully the domain of the county. With the seismic retrofit and now this and the fact that they  do not even offer any program to assist the owners to get these things done, how do we small providers survive?   Luisa S. 

Dear Dan:

Thank you very much for going after L.A. City for this abuse of power over rubbish collections. The rubbish bill for my building from the former company, SoCal Waste, Inc, for one month, was $478.50. The new L.A. City Council “approved” service provider is Republic Services with a new bill for $2,003.41 for one month. I would have attached copies of the bills if your email system allowed. Also, there is a website from the L.A. Sanitation Department containing a booklet lauding the many benefits brought to tenants and building owners for the LA City rubbish recycling program. The LA City Council has definitely affected the building’s “bottom line.”   Sincerely, Bruce Painton                                                                                       

Dear AOA:

This is outrageous.  I just learned today that my trash service bill was going to increase from $295/month to $493.08, a 67% increase.  That includes a monthly fee of $86.66 because they have to open the gate.  How hard is it to press a remote, one that I give them?  It is so hard they are charging me $86.66 a month!! Do we have any recourse?  Craig 

Dan:

Still fighting for the cause – see letter below sent to the Argonaut News.

We were quite happy with the company who picked up our trash at our Laguna del Rey apartments. Unfortunately, the City Counsel, Mike Bonin and Mayor Garcetti were not. They could make fees by bidding out trash service to the highest bidder. The result is the perfect storm - poor service at double the cost. The reasons given were the usual soft and spongy words -”You will enjoy the opportunity to recycle” (we have been recycling for the last five years),  “predictable and protected rates” ( our rates have doubled) ” removable of graffiti from your bins” (what?) and “less truck traffic in your neighborhood”(could have been accomplished in a different way).

The sad part of this policy is that the “greedy Landlord” won’t suffer. Costs of this type are passed on to the tenants through charges. To me, this may be a sign of what can emanate from City Hall. Edicts which make no sense, are inefficient, and cost all of us unnecessary expense.
                                                                                                             Frank M.

 

Sent to Athens and City Council members:

Thank you for getting back to me regarding our problems with the Athens Services trash monopoly. Below please find photos of the site AFTER they picked up the overdue trash!

How would you like to come home to this mess especially after you have called them several times over the past three months in an attempt to get regular service?  Unacceptable?  It is close to criminal. And you can’t even replace them with another company because of the trash company/city conspiracy.  Yes, it is a conspiracy when our free enterprise system is trampled upon and disregarded.

There are continuing health and sanitation concerns for our tenants.  It seems the only thing Athens knows how to do is to raise their fees.  What can we do about this short of going to court and getting them cited for their incompetency and disregard for the well-being of our residents?

I must question if my tenants are the only ones being injured by Athens lack of satisfactory service. Please call me and let me know yours and Councilman Koretz’s thoughts on this troubling and unhealthy matter.  Victor 

Sent to City Council Members and the Los Angeles Times

I’m writing you regarding the new trash hauling system that the City Council voted to implement in Los Angeles. When I first heard about this proposal, I didn’t believe it.  Why would any person or government body, especially in the United States of America, remove all of the competition out of a business and hand monopoly positions to a group of large, for-profit companies. This sounds like a recipe for much higher prices.

Then I read some rationale for the Council’s decision that suggested the district monopolies would create less traffic and more efficient routes.  While still suspicious, it does make sense that denser routing should lead to lower costs, so I tried to remain optimistic.

Well, last week I was contacted by Waste Management, Inc., which was awarded the district where I own three rent-controlled apartment buildings. As our meeting got underway, I quickly came to realize that my worst fears were becoming a reality. The average non-negotiable quoted trash hauling rate increase from Waste Management for my three properties was over 300%. YES, 300%! Waste Management also suggested more frequent trash pickups, so even the notion that there would be less traffic is not being realized.

Not only is Waste Management extorting ridiculous sums from me, but I also have no way of passing on this extraordinary cost on to my tenants because my buildings are rent-controlled.  This trash collection rate increase equals my entire 3% increase for 2017 at all three of my buildings.  This is on top of the extremely expensive recent seismic retrofit requirements put on my properties and the skyrocketing utility rates I have to absorb since tenants don’t pay directly for their water usage.

While I do not know how the City Council was expecting the trash hauling decision to work out, I cannot imagine this is what was intended.  The Council needs to review this decision again especially as it pertains to Waste Management and impose some form of limitations on their pricing.  Monopoly utilities have price controls for a reason. Separately, the City Council needs to look at the annual rent adjustment level of 3% and at least increase this to 6%, so that we cover the increased cost rent-controlled property owners are incurring in your district and across Los Angeles. I have always prided myself on being a diligent and fair landlord, but the city is slowly putting the small, rent-controlled landlords out of business.  Respectfully, Klaus K.

RE: New Trash Program FLAWED DESIGN

Honorable Mayor Garcetti and City Council Members:

I am aware you are all receiving much negative correspondence regarding the City of Los Angeles’ new trash program.  I would like to add this list, and perhaps from another perspective.

My view is that this program is fundamentally flawed from its design to inception to implementation.  What might this include:

  • You needed to solve a small recycling and environmental compliance issue.  This could easily have been handled without forcing a non-competitive trash pick-up situation, creating all this chaos.
  • Your published rate sheet is outlandish.  I have seen many letters written to the city criticizing the trash companies new charges, but these high charges all seem to stem from your city departments’ direction.  I can only think the people designing these rates are insane and have not a clue of what it takes to operate an apartment building (particularly in the City of Los Angeles which already creates the highest expenses  of all but two others in the County of Los Angeles).
  • I often see replies from the city stating that once we have our assessment, all will be just fine.  That could not be further from the truth.  The truth is, in order to be offered a discount from the highly increased rate, we must place a larger bin on the property and reduce the number of weekly pickups.  Result – our tenants receive less trash service.  OUR TENANTS RECEIVE LESS TRASH SERVICE, while the building owner at the same time is to pay double or triple our current rate.  AND, we must impose a larger trash bin on our tenants’ limited space.  WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO OUR TENANTS, our residents, YOUR VOTERS?
  • I have to think the City is concerned about residents’ health.  Less pickup leads to greater health issues; insects, rodents, smell. I have considered contacting the Los Angeles COUNTY Health Department to cite your City program, but so far am hesitant to do so, as they well may turn it back on me, the property owner, even though I have no control of the situation your City has created.
  • PLEASE, rather than writing me some silly reply, can you all truly give this program a re-thinking.  I realize it takes time to implement new programs, but this one is a failure CONECPTUALLY, and needs to be revised IMMEDIATELY.
  • Please, we are not just a bunch of stupid, greedy landlords simply complaining once again about who know what.  THIS IS A REAL PROBLEM (not that other issues are not, but this is a real loser). Many thanks for truly giving this situation a revisiting.

Sincerely, Lawrence Rubenstein, Ph.D. (in Public Health, no less)

 

PS: I am a long time owner of eight apartment properties in the City of Los Angeles.  I own outside this city as well.  I no longer purchase properties in the City of Los Angeles, this trash program being an example of the unnecessary difficulties the City creates for property owners.  And no, it is not a “rent control” issue.  It is ever so many issues and burdens placed on property owners in your City.

 

AOA:  Please send a copy of this to Mayor Garcetti and every City Council member.

CLICK HERE TO EMAIL EVERYONE

Mayor of Los Angeles

Eric GarcettiCity Hall, 200 N. Spring Street Rm #303, Los Angeles, CA, 90012 - mayor.garcetti@lacity.org – (213) 978-0600

Mailing address for All City Council Members
City Hall, 200 N. Spring Street (Rm #), Los Angeles, CA 90012

District 1 – Gil Cedillo: councilmember.cedillo@lacity.org or room 460 – (213) 473-7001 or (323) 550-1538

District 2 – Paul Krekorian: councilmember.krekorian@lacity.org or  room 435 – (213) 473-7002 or (818) 755-7676

District 3 – Bob Blumenfield: councilmember.blumenfield@lacity.org or room 415 – (213) 473-7003 or (818) 774-4330

District 4 – David Ryu: david.ryu@lacity.org or room 425 – (213) 473-7004 or (323) 957-6415

District 5 – Paul Koretz: paul.koretz@lacity.org or room 440 – (213) 473-7005 or (323) 866-1828

District 6 – Nury Martinez: councilmember.martinez@lacity.org or room 470 – (213) 473-7006 or (818) 778-4999

District 7 – Councilwoman Elect Monica Rodriguez: rosie.cruz@lacity.org or  room 455 – (213) 473-7007 or (818) 756-8409

District 8 – Marqueece Harris- Dawson: councilmember.harris-dawson@lacity.org or room 450 – (213) 473-7008 or (213) 485-7616

District 9 – Curren Price: councilmember.price@lacity.org or room 420 – (213) 473-7008 or (213) 485-7616

District 10 – Herb Wesson (President): councilmember.wesson@lacity.org or room 430 – (213) 473-7010 or (323) 733-8233

District 11 – Mike Bonin: councilmember.bonin@lacity.org or room 475 – (213) 473-7011 or (310) 575-8461

District 12 – Mitchell Englander (President pro tempore): councilmember.englander@lacity.org or room 405

District 13 - Mitch O’Farrell: councilmember.ofarrell@lacity.org or room 480 – (213) 473-7013 or (213) 207-3015

District 14 - Jose Huizar: councilmember.huizar@lacity.org or room 465 – (213) 473-7014 or (323) 526-9332

District 15 – Joe Buscaino: councildistrict15@lacity.org or room 410 – (213) 473-7015 or (310) 732-4515

 

Help Stop the Trash Monopoly!