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Adrian Martinez’s Blog

LA city council overwhelmingly supports new direction on trash

Adrian Martinez

Posted April 24, 2013 in Curbing Pollution, Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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In one week, the LA City Council has tackled adopting a position to move away from coal and addressing its trash woes — talk about a productive Earth Week in LA.  On trash today, the Los Angeles City Council overwhelmingly approved the proposed implementation plan for moving to a waste franchise system with strong environmental, worker, and community safeguards.  As I have previously blogged, this plan is an excellent blueprint to transition from the antiquated system for dealing with trash at apartment buildings and businesses that currently exists in Los Angeles. 

The same old opponents came out again today.  While many did not oppose the franchise system per se, they asked for changes that would have harmed the plan to make it less effective in addressing the serious environmental, workplace, and community-impact challenges LA faces.  I'm also happy that many last minute amendments that would have diluted the plan and impeded the environmental objectives of the plan did not get adopted today. 

I'm especially proud of my coalition partners in the Don’t Waste LA coalition who came out in force today to support the implementation plan.  In particular, the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy has been central to our coalition that ranges from environmental groups to labor groups to clergy to community groups.  We've been working at City Hall and in the streets of LA tirelessly for the last three years, so today was a good day. 

After the hearing, the energy from this coalition was palatable.  In the City Hall rotunda after the hearing, there was a roaring standing ovation for the Bureau of Sanitation staff and Board of Public Works Commissioners as they exited council chambers because of their work to roll up their sleeves to turn around this dysfunctional system.  The loud cheers would have made most onlookers think we were applauding the Dodgers, Clippers or Lakers, instead of public employees.  I guess the topic of trash gets people excited at City Hall.     

Many thanks need to go out to Councilmembers Huizar, Alarcon, Koretz, Garcetti, Zine, Buscaino, Rosendahl, Wesson, Reyes, and LaBonge who stood strong to support this program. We still have more work to do before this issue is finalized, but today marked a very large step forward. 

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