The scourge of illegal dumping is Oakland’s most unrelenting problem. And when you match an update on the city’s actions toward limiting illegal dumping during an Oakland City Council committee hearing and its two most passionate opponents of trash on the streets, the rhetoric is glorious.
Oakland Coucilmembers Larry Reid and Noel Gallo participated in dueling rants about each others frustrations with the seemingly never-ending battle with illegal dumping during a Public Works Committee meeting last Tuesday morning.
“I’m frustrated,” said Reid. “I am freaking frustrated the way my community has to live with all of this crap. It is pathetic that people that come and visit our city has to look at this stuff.”
Reid added that he wants to city to determine whether it is legal to slap the image of illegal dumping violators on billboards around Oakland.
When Reid told the committee that 800 abandoned cars were towed in his district over a one month span, Gallo chimed in, “Is that all?”
Both councilmembers are known to communicate their own nostalgia about how they perceive the Oakland of days gone by. But Gallo added a curious take.
“There was a time that, you know, we may have been out there killing each other in numbers, but there was no trash out in the street,” Gallo said.
He reiterated that exorbitant fees for properly disposing of large items such as couches and mattresses forces residents to resort to illegal dumping. But the city must also do a better job of enforcing its own rules against illegal dumping. “We’ve got to change the culture,” he said. “In our streets, sometimes the only culture we understand is enforcement.”
Not to be undone, Reid said he is aware of several offenders in his district around 105th Avenue and San Leandro Boulevard who continue causing trouble, yet seemingly never face any consequences. At one spot, a RV blocks seniors from walking on the sidewalks.
At another, sheer mayhem ensues, he said. “There’s two guy. Every time they get into a pissing match with their girlfriends, they go out and set cars on fire in my district. And we allow that stuff to continue.”
Even worse, Reid sounded a highly pessimistic tone about the future. “Like the homeless issue. I don’t know if we can ever solve illegal dumping,” Reid said.