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Illegal dumping rule cracks down on offenders

August 22, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The city of Los Angeles is beefing up an old law to help crackdown on illegal dumping, allowing them to fine the people responsible without catching them in the act.Crews working for the city's Business Improvement Districts pick up trash illegally dumped on the streets of L.A. on a daily basis.

It used to be that you had to catch the illegal dumpers in the act, but that has changed.

"We can go to a pile of trash like this, find some evidence as to who did this, take it to the city of Los Angeles, and we can then impose an administrative fine up front without having to go through the legal process," said L.A. City Council Member Jose Huizar.

It's estimated that across the city, about $12 million is spent to clean up illegally dumped trash. The city's ordinance now gives it a tool to start recouping some of that money.

"This violation starts with a minimum penalty of $500. A second violation in the same year is $750, $1,000 for the third violation and the fourth time being charged as a misdemeanor crime where we still invoke the legal process to prosecute individuals we catch," said Gary Harris with the Bureau of Street Services.

Gideon Kotzer owns some buildings and businesses in the Arts District, just east of downtown L.A. He said he spends money out of his own pocket to clean up and haul away trash that was illegally dumped.

"In many cases, my boys are cleaning it up and putting it in the dumpster, but it's happening so many times," said Kotzer.

The new ordinance is already in effect. You can help by reporting illegal dumpers by simply dialing 311 in the city of L.A.


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