Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Help Me Howard: Trash
WSVN -- When Stuart Dumbroff opens the doors to his auto repair shop, he never knows what the day will bring.
But for the last six months, he has had one challenge he can count on and can't conquer.
Stuart Dumbroff: "Not my garbage."
The pile of garbage is right outside his Hollywood business.
Stuart Dumbroff: "People have decided that this must be a dumping ground. Instead of paying to get rid of their trash."
The trash does look like it comes from other businesses. Motorcycle parts, a gas tank. Stuart has seen it all.
Stuart Dumbroff: "We got couches, car parts, bumpers, if you look behind the water line pole, you will see water bottles, we got cement carpeting."
And as sure as the trash pile will be here, Stuart can be certain when it will be dumped.
Stuart Dumbroff: "On the weekend so it's a good time to drive up and put your refuse their and drive away because no one is going to report it."
Stuart is in Hollywood. He said he called to complain.
Stuart Dumbroff: "Code enforcement said its not their issue and couldn't tell us who we had to call."
Stuart said the lack of response by code enforcement bothers him because he knows what they would say if the trash was on his property.
Stuart Dumbroff: "It's not fair. Everybody should be treated equal. If I have to maintain something, the city should maintain something."
Stuart said the trash has been here for months and of course you know who likes a trash pile, besides the illegal dumpers.
Stuart Dumbroff: "Rats. We have seen a couple of big, nice size rats rooming around which will get into the building and cause issues here."
Stuart doesn't like the trash piling up. His customers aren't happy to see it.
Stuart Dumbroff: "First thing you see is a pile of trash, you go, 'Wow, what are these guys running? Are they running a dump?'"
But the dumpemains. So Howard, legally who is responsible for removing illegally dumped trash.
Howard Finkelstein: "It depends. If it's on public land, it's up to the city to clean it up. Now, the difficult part, if it's on the swale and not paved,such as grass, you have to clean it up. If the swale is paved, the city has to clean it up. That's the way the law is in Hollywood, other government agencies may be different."
This trash pile is clearly on city property. And give the city of Hollywood credit, when we called them, the trash pile was immediately removed by the public works department.
In an email, the city wrote, "We would like to thank Help Me Howard for bringing to its attention, the illegal dumping on the public right of way."
The city was unaware of this specific case because the city had not received a complaint or report about it. Howard said there is a way for business owners or home owners to make sure they are heard.
Howard Finkelstein: "If garbage is dumped near your property or business or you have any problem with a government agency, don't call and complain. Put it in writing and send it certified mail or even email it, so you make sure they get the complaint."
The city is now checking to see if they can get the funding to put portable cameras in the area to catch the dumpers, but for the time being, Stuart got what he wanted.
Stuart Dumbroff: "Defiantly happy, because it got done."
If your complaint in a certified letter or email is ignored don't give up, go to the top. Contact the city manager, the mayor, a council member, people you elected. Keep bugging them till they get the problem cleared up.
A problem been dumped in your lap? Don't trash things, just talk to us. We can clean up things. Not with a garbage truck, with a law book and a lot of legwork.
CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org (Please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)
REPORTER: Patrick Fraser at email@example.com