GPW: Self-Tempered Anarchy since 2009

Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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stories along The Way

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Manure funny business seems to be 'All in the Family'

Here in what's left of Los Angeles' horse-keeping areas, something decidedly Downtown-ish is smelling more than a little stinky.

On my block, trash pickup day is Monday and horse manure pickup day just happens to be on Tuesday, the very next day.

On Sunday everyone in the neighborhood gathers up the junk for the black, green, and blue barrels and totes the household refuse to the curb. Horse refuse, in the brown barrels, is supposed to be toted to the curb the next night. Since the pickup schedules are so close and there are bins of one color or another on the road all day Monday and Tuesday anyway, a lot of neighborhood folk "break the rules" and use their casual weekend time to collect and tote all of the material for disposal - black, green, blue, and brown - to the curb on Sunday. Cuts down somewhat on the two days straight of shuffling barrels back and forth, but only somewhat.

Sanitation then dutifully picks up the goods on the required days. Nothing unusual enough to gain attention there.

What is interesting about this is that, without fail, at just a few homes in the neighborhood, the Bureau of Sanitation picks up all four colors on Monday. It's very odd. Our place can have all four colors out on Monday AM and 99% of the time the barrels are collected on the scheduled dates: Monday for black, green, blue, and Tuesday for brown.

Yet week after week, very specific homes in the neighborhood have all of their barrels picked up on Monday. Time, energy, hassle are all reduced for these special people, and the curb appeal of their homes are increased.

One of those special homes is across the street from mine. This Monday, as our brown barrels sat out another night, I watched the neighbor take in all of theirs - including their now-empty brown barrels - and seriously wondered. What is so special about that house? Why is that one, as well as the one around the corner, receiving very different, if not what you could actually call special pickup service from the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation? I've been through their web site, and sure - you can ask for the occasional special collection - but not a consistent day change.

So what gives? What makes these two homes special from the rest of us with horses in the neighborhood? Then it hit me: the residents of those homes are City employees. One is an LAPD officer, and the other is an Animal Services officer. Ah... For some reason, two City employees that have horses, and hence have brown barrels, receive special services from the Bureau of Sanitation, consistently having all of their personal barrels picked up from their private homes on Monday.

In a time of loss of service, rate-hikes, and impending E-RIP chaos, that City employees are receiving custom curbside services smells more than a little stinky to me.