Want the bums out of your recycling cans/sheds/garages/cars? Stop putting CRV in your bins, donate it to the Work Training Center

20 May

I was working in my tenant’s yard the other day, waiting for the Waste Management trucks to pick up our bins so I could bring them off the street. I don’t like to look at garbage cans, I wish my neighbors would bring theirs in more promptly.

As I was pulling weeds and cleaning up stickers and tree trash, I heard the jangling of glass coming from across the driveway at my neighbor’s house. I looked up to see a car, engine running, stopped in front of her house, and a disheveled man was standing over her open recycling bin with a ban, routing out her CRV containers.

Busted, he tries the friendly approach. That didn’t last long.

This is illegal, and it’s disgusting – as I watched him, I realized why there’s always a fine layer of litter up and down the streets of our town – he was spraying loose trash all over the place as he routed out her valuable recyclables.

Whenever I see something like that, I try to get a picture. Oftentimes that’s all it takes to make the person stop what they’re doing and leave. The man stopped and waved at me – “Hi”, he says, all friendly.

“What are you doing?” I asked, although it seemed stupid to ask. He answered me that he was trying to make a living the best way he could. I told him it was illegal to steal out of recycling cans – that’s when he started cursing, calling me a “bitch” and assuring me that many people thanked him – might even offer him a sandwich! Or a few bucks!

As he went on about how hard it is to make a living these days, I  thought of my sons, both minimally employed at tedious manual jobs, bosses unable to afford to give them more than 28 hours a week because of Obamacare and California Covered. I think of my husband, and all the years he worked on his hands and knees to support the family, saving what we could because we knew there would be no pension.

And I kept taking pictures, my hands shaking hilariously as this man called me “bitch” and asked me “what you gonna do about it?”  I told him I would call the police, and I kept my camera on him.

That’s when he got in his crappy little car, revved the engine, throwing gravel at my neighbor’s fence, and started moving toward me as I stood behind my garbage bins with my cellphone to my face.

Here he’s got his car headed straight for me, as I stand next to my garbage bins. There were pedestrians up and down the street, including a woman with two small dogs.

He made a pretty lame attempt to threaten me with his car, but it was a threat none the less.

I had an applicant for one of my apartments, I had to turn her down when I saw that she was at the time being charged with trying to run over her boyfriend with her car. That’s called “intent to commit great bodily harm,” and she was arrested and charged. I thought she would be a threat to my neighbors and other tenants, and maybe myself or my husband or kids, so I sent her on her way.  

The man swerved out into the street after he’d crossed the end of my driveway, drove a couple of doors down, screeched to a stop in the street, got out of the car and gave me the double birdy before he jumped back into the driver’s seat and took off. I had to laugh – he sure as hell didn’t stop anywhere to rifle anymore cans. I’m going to guess the car was neither his nor registered.

But I’m sick of this type of creep in my town. They are following the garbage trucks, in broad daylight, rifling through recycling bins. How does that make you feel about putting all those bank offers and credit card offers with your name on them in your garbage can?

In my neighborhood I can think of five different incidents of break-ins and petty thefts from neighbors over the last year. My kid’s girlfriend’s car was broken into, parking change stolen, garbage left in it, and then the perp took a big dump right next to the car in my private driveway, at least 100 yards off the public street.

So, I happened to have the phone number of a garbage company employee who’s been trying to help me straighten out my account (so I won’t complain about that, not now anyway…) and I called him. He asked me how it was going and I told him about the incident. He seemed concerned too – he said recycling theft is a big problem – it’s a free service, essentially, so they need the CRV to make it pay for itself. I’ve heard the garbage companies complain about this for years. Years ago, at meetings of the Sustainability Task Force, garbage company employees lobbied the city to make it mandatory for apartment complexes to have locking recycling containers.

Aside from that, he also acknowledged the problems of trash being left on the street and petty crimes increasing with the presence of the bin routers.

When I asked him what could be done about it, he suggested I report it to the cops. But, he also said, it could take them all day to come, and what good is that? I thought about reporting it online, but the website is ridiculous – you have to set up an account!

So, in total frustration, I sat down yesterday morning to e-mail Chico Mayor Sean Morgan. Morgan had just had a big public fight with local gadfly Mark Herrera  over the homeless issue, so I thought I’d find a sympathetic ear.

I told him what happened, and made two suggestions. First, Waste Management doesn’t pick up recycling in my neighborhood until after 2 pm. They are out to pick up trash around 9 am. Why not switch it the other way? Second, why can’t Chico PD pay more attention to the garbage routes on trash days – they would probably solve some “quality of life” crimes while they were at it.

Morgan, who voted along with the rest of council to impose this deal on the residents of Chico told me,

“Waste haulers pick up 5 days a week and it takes them all day to get everyone.  My bins don’t get picked up until about 3:00 (which is nice when I forget to take them down the driveway).”

Here the mayor admits that promises made by council in imposing this deal were LIES. They told us we’d have less trucks on the streets – that’s not true.  I have Waste Management trucks in my neighborhood two days in a row – they pick up my trash one day and then they get the other side of the street the next. And then Recology comes another day to deal with the church across the street.

See, the real problem is, Waste Management took the franchise knowing they didn’t have enough trucks to serve the entire town, and the city let them do that.  They have to haul the trash first, and then come back for recycling. Recology had both my bins by noon, but I am forced to deal with Waste Management.

And Morgan admits, they can’t  give us the service we had from Recology. That’s not the tune he was playing when he shoved this deal down the public’s throat.

I also suggested the police could pay more attention to the routes on pick-up days. His answer,

“Finally, next week PD team normally assigned to South Campus area is heading into the parks.  There’s only so much they can do but hopefully some of the service resistant are made to move so many times they chose another town.  California has tied our hands.  The PD can’t do much.  The DA won’t (because it’s fruitless) and the jail is full of people that should be in State prison.”

Chico PD gets over half the city budget, but they never seem to have enough officers to do anything.  That’s the sales tax increase pitch folks, don’t fall for it. No matter how much they get they just threaten to cut services if they don’t get more. 

I haven’t answered  the mayor – he went into a  ramble about his conversation with Herrera that bothered me too.  Morgan’s a fun guy to talk to sometimes, but he’s made a mockery of the office of mayor. 

Given the response I got from both Waste Management and the mayor, I’ve come up with another solution – I will be asking my tenants, and making the same suggestion to my friends and neighbors – DON’T PUT CRV IN YOUR RECYCLING BINS. If you want to make a positive difference, save it in an old bucket and take it to the Work Training Center – you can donate it, and they’ll be glad to get it. 




7 Responses to “Want the bums out of your recycling cans/sheds/garages/cars? Stop putting CRV in your bins, donate it to the Work Training Center”

  1. bob May 20, 2018 at 10:52 am #

    The Chico PD are useless. You’ll find that out once you become a victim of crime. The only thing they are good for is to shill for a tax increase.

    The local politicians and bureaucracy let the roads fall apart and the city to become over-run with mentally ill and petty criminals and then they threaten us with tax increases to “fix” the mess they made. (They already have their paid shill at the Chamber of Commerce giving Power Point presentations for a tax increase and that is just the beginning.)

    The whole thing is a scam but what can you expect when you live in a corrupt little city?

  2. The Dude May 21, 2018 at 5:59 pm #

    Bums, Bums, And More Bums!
    This City is run by Bums, for Bums.
    The Taxpaying citizens and Property Owners,
    of this city are just here to feed the Bums.
    I love that you stand up to the Bums. You are
    an amazing woman.

    • Juanita Sumner May 21, 2018 at 6:06 pm #

      Thanks Dude. The man at Waste Management thanked me too. It’s good to know I’m not the only person who won’t accept this situation.

  3. Jim May 22, 2018 at 8:12 am #

    It takes me a couple months to fill the recycling bin, and then I only put it out an hour or so before the truck comes by so the bums won’t have time to dig through it.

    • Juanita Sumner May 22, 2018 at 9:03 am #

      Thanks Jim, I believe that if more people were paying attention we could solve the problem of crime in our neighborhoods without having to deal with Chico PD.

      Maybe someday we won’t need Chico PD anymore – wouldn’t that be something!

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